Figures show that each year the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is notified of about 650 consumer product recalls - but only about half of affected products are returned to sellers - which the Commission says leaves one in four Australian households exposed to potential hazards.
Now the Commission has recommended that the Government strengthen Australian Consumer Law by requiring businesses to comply with a “new safety duty”, meaning businesses must take “reasonable steps” to ensure the products they sell are not unsafe.
“In Australia, two people die and 145 people are injured every day by unsafe consumer products,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.
“We believe prevention is better than cure, and that legally requiring businesses to take steps to ensure the safety of their products before they enter the market is needed to protect Australian consumers.”
The ACCC is part of a global OECD campaign on product recalls that kicked off on Monday to raise awareness of the importance of making sure recalled products are removed from homes.
The Commission is encouraging consumers to sign up to the Product Safety Australia website to receive product recall alerts and to register their products with manufacturers, “where possible, to ensure they receive information straight away if a product is recalled”.
“Toys and products for babies and children accounted for almost one in three safety recalls monitored by the ACCC. It is really important that people sign up to ACCC product safety alerts and register products with manufacturers, so they stay informed about recalls and can act to remove unsafe products from their homes,” Court said.
“We also have the biggest recall in Australian history underway: potentially deadly Takata airbags can still found in about half a million cars. It is vital that consumers don’t ignore recall information if they receive a letter, email or text from a manufacturer.”