Businesses must run better recalls
Did you know that in Australia, businesses can run recalls for risky or unsafe products however they like, with no immediate penalties if they do it badly?
Exploding Thermomixes, unsafe airbags, flaming washing machines and now Aldi’s dangerous pressure cooker: when dangerous products aren’t replaced or repaired swiftly, companies put all of us at risk.
Businesses need to be kept accountable for getting their unsafe products out of our homes. That’s why we’re calling for a new rule to make businesses publicly report on the progress of their recall.
We need to show the Minister responsible for consumer affairs that this issue matters, and should be a priority for the government to take action on. Will you sign the petition?
Wall of Shame: Product recalls
2017 – Aldi pressure cookers
Aldi issued a national recall in August over concerns that the cookers’ locking mechanisms were faulty, risking burns. Since then, less than a quarter of the 8405 cookers have been returned. CHOICE uncovered these figures through freedom of information requests, and by asking the regulator.
2014 – Vorwerk’s Thermomix
Thermomix dragged their heels, initiating a recall of the Thermomix TM31 a year and a half after first becoming aware of the burns risk posed by the machine. Figures on the number of machines repaired or replaced have not been released widely, if at all.
2013 – Samsung washing machines
These washing machines had the potential to catch fire, with at least 297 machines actually failing or catching fire as at August 2016. The recall dragged on for years and was dogged by problems. Figures on the number of machines that have been repaired or replaced have not been released widely, if at all.
2009 – Takata airbags
These airbags can explode when deployed, sending shrapnel flying. A massive 2.49m cars were affected with 950,000 replacement airbags installed as at September 2017. The release of these figures came after a CHOICE investigation and the involvement of the regulator.
Our product safety recall system is broken. There are insufficient incentives in place for manufacturers and suppliers to act swiftly and proactively to get dangerous products out of the homes of consumers who purchased them.
Businesses face fines if they fail to notify a recall is occurring, but they are free to run the recall as poorly as they choose. We need laws that make businesses accountable for effectively recalling their products when something does go wrong.
This is why we’re calling on the Minister responsible for consumer affairs to make sure businesses are held accountable for the way they run recalls. We need a new obligation on businesses to make them publicly report on how their recalls are progressing, and how many dangerous products they’ve successfully repaired or replaced.