ACCC: Company penalised $40,000 for breaching product safety standard

Published

The Federal Court has penalised Sontax Australia (1988) Pty Ltd $40,000 for the supply of luggage straps with non-compliant warnings labels following action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The ACCC took Sontax to court for supplying 2353 luggage straps that did not comply with the prescribed product safety standard. The behaviour occurred between 2 July and 29 November 2010.

"Elastic luggage straps can be dangerous if used inappropriately. When stretched beyond capacity these straps have caused serious injuries, including permanent eye damage. Clear warning labels are important for these straps as many consumers will not be aware of these risks," ACCC deputy chair Peter Kell said.

The Federal Court in Melbourne declared that Sontax had contravened consumer law by supplying the non-compliant luggage straps.

The court also found that Sontax had breached a 2009 court enforceable undertaking it had provided to the ACCC in response to the prior supply of non-compliant luggage straps in 2008.

The court accepted that the conduct arose out of lax management and poor oversight rather than deliberate supply of luggage straps in breach of the regulations.

"Product safety is non-negotiable and the ACCC will accept no excuses for poor compliance," Mr Kell said.
 
The court noted that the penalty imposed upon Sontax would have been higher but for Sontax’s early acknowledgement of liability.

In addition to penalty the court also ordered:

  • a restraining injunction against similar future contraventions for 5 years
  • a revised company compliance program to run for 3 years
  • a corrective publication order, and
  • Sontax to make a contribution of $20,000 to the ACCC’s costs.

 

Contact details

Media inquiries

  • Mr Duncan Harrod, Media, (02) 6243 11080408 995 408

General inquiries

  • Infocentre 1300 302 502

Release # NR 198/11

More information on product safety and the mandatory safety standards can be found at www.productsafety.gov.au. Australian product recalls are published at www.recalls.gov.au, and you can also follow product safety at the ACCC on Twitter: @ProductSafetyAU.

In addition information regarding product safety is available via youtube: Video launching the recall app - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgZghTLeq5w; Product safety Australia YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/acccproductsafety