The Federal Court has ordered online retailer, Ozsale to pay a $500,000 fine for selling children’s nightwear that failed to meet Australia’s mandatory safety standards. The non-compliant garments included children’s bodysuits and pyjama sets, superhero pyjamas, and a sleep sack. Ozsale had sold over 200 of these items in Australia with over 11,000 garments available for purchase by Australian consumers.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) brought proceedings against Ozsale Pty Ltd upon realising that the clothing was not compliant with safety standards and that the risk of injury increased when children wore these garments.
During proceedings, Ozsale admitted there were five styles of nightwear supplied that did not meet the safety standards and that the business didn’t have a procedure in place to ensure that clothes did not meet the required standards.
What Did Ozsale do Wrong?
The ACCC was concerned that the design of the different nightwear did not meet the safety standards. Notably, the fabric and length of the cape attached to the Orange Superhero Pyjamas’ meant it would be very easy to brush against a heat source and catch fire.
Regarding some of the garments, Ozsale had not included the fire hazard warning label on one style of clothing and had displayed the wrong type of fire-hazard warning label on another. It is a requirement under the mandatory safety standards that the product should show the item’s flammability. The flammability of the nightwear like the Superhero Pyjamas exceeded what is allowed in Australia.
Mandatory Safety Standards and the Australian Consumer Law
Mandatory standards impose certain safety or information requirements on products sold in Australia. Many products are subject to mandatory standards which set out clear requirements for both safety testing and labelling products, for example, children’s toys, bicycles and helmets, bean bags, cosmetics, and clothing.
In particularly, the mandatory standards for children’s clothes relates to using the appropriate mass of fabric that is less likely to burn. It also sets out a maximum length for any attachment pieces (i.e. the cape in the Superhero Pyjamas). The longer the attached piece is, the more likely it is to get caught on something such as a heat source.
Ozsale admitted to the Federal Court that they did not have procedures in place to ensure they met the safety requirements and paid the price. This isn’t the first time Ozsale has paid a penalty for breaching the Australian Consumer Law. They recently paid $10,800 for misleading representations concerning consumer guarantees.
The five styles of nightwear have been recalled and consumers who purchased the garments are encouraged to return the clothing and in exchange for a full refund from Ozsale.
The ACCC takes safety standards seriously, and so should businesses. Under Australian Consumer Law, it is not just manufacturers who must ensure that their products are compliant with safety standards – retailers also have an obligation to check that the product they are selling meets safety and labelling standards.
Businesses and retailers should remember that they cannot contract out of such liability through their terms and conditions. Business owners should be familiar with the requirements of the Australian Consumer Law and take steps to ensure that their practices are compliant.
If you have any questions about complying with your obligations under the Australian Consumer Law, get in touch with our consumer lawyers on 1300 544 755.