The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has obtained final orders by consent in the Federal Court at Melbourne against Hercules Iron Pty Ltd and its general manager, Mr Tom Hatz regarding the company's contravention of the Trade Practices Act 1974 for supplying two models of bunk beds which did not comply with the prescribed consumer product safety standard for bunk beds.*
In December 2007, the ACCC filed civil proceedings in the Federal Court utilising the Fast Track List against Hercules Iron Pty Ltd and Mr Hatz. The ACCC alleged the Comet and Asteroid model of bunk beds which were supplied by the company failed to comply with six clauses of the mandatory standard for bunk beds and could pose a hazard to users. As part of the proceeding, the ACCC sought and obtained interlocutory orders from the Federal Court to restrain Hercules Iron from supplying the non-compliant models of bunk beds. A recall process was also ordered.
Following the Federal Court's grant of interlocutory relief in December 2007, Justice Gordon has now made final orders declaring that Hercules Iron Pty Ltd has contravened the Trade Practices Act by supplying the Asteroid and Comet model of bunk beds which did not comply with the requirements of the mandatory standard.
The orders against Hercules Iron includes requiring it this month to:
- publish a product safety recall advertisement in certain newspapers, and
- advise retailers to whom it supplied the non-compliant bunk beds about the product safety recall of the product.
Justice Gordon further ordered the company to implement certain internal procedures which the ACCC considers should improve the company's compliance with trade practices legislation.
Additionally, Justice Gordon made orders against the company and Mr Hatz respectively restraining them for a period of three years from:
- supplying bunk beds that do not comply with the mandatory standard, and
- being knowingly concerned with the supply of bunk beds that do not comply with the mandatory standard.
The company was also ordered to pay a contribution to the ACCC's costs in the proceeding.
In delivering her reasons for judgment, Justice Gordon observed that the ACCC's proceeding raised matters of a serious nature, "namely the safety of children in their beds" and that it was in the public interest for the proceeding to be settled on the terms of the orders proposed in the matter.
ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel, said today: "This case serves to remind all manufacturers that consumer safety is paramount. The ACCC will intervene and where necessary seek Federal Court orders to afford consumers the protection they are entitled to.
"This case demonstrates both the ACCC and the Federal Court can respond in a timely fashion to deliver the consumer the outcome the community deserves."
Mr Graeme Samuel, Chairman, (03) 9290 1812 or 0408 335 555
Ms Lin Enright, Media, (02) 6243 1108 or 0414 613 520
Release # MR 032/08
Infocentre 1300 302 502