Court declares bunk bed supplier failed safety standard
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has obtained declarations and final orders by consent in the Federal Court, Melbourne against Aziz Properties and Services Pty Ltd, trading as Infinity Megastore, and its sole officeholder, Dr Rodney Aziz.
This follows urgent interlocutory action by the ACCC against the parties in December 2008. At the time Justice Finkelstein ordered the company to recall two models of bunk beds it had supplied that failed to comply with the requirements of the mandatory consumer product safety standard for bunk beds.
The ACCC's proceeding involved the supply by the company of two models of bunk beds known as the Model 276 Single Bunk Bed and the Model 277 Double Bunk Bed. Both models were supplied from the company's showroom in Mitcham, Victoria and also over the internet, including from an eBay site.
The ACCC alleged these bunk beds failed to comply with the mandatory consumer product safety standard and could pose a serious potential risk to users from entrapment and fall through hazards.
Justice Finkelstein declared that the company contravened section 65C of the Trade Practices Act 1974 by supplying the non-compliant bunk beds. He also declared that Dr Aziz was directly and knowingly concerned in certain of the company's contravening conduct.
Section 65C of the Act prohibits the supply by a company of goods likely to be used by consumers which do not comply with a prescribed consumer product safety standard.
In addition to making a range of probation orders, the court ordered injunctions against the company and Dr Aziz to restrain repetition of the offending conduct. The company and Dr Aziz were ordered to pay the ACCC's costs of the proceeding fixed at $35,000.
ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel, said in the past children have died from hanging and strangulation after their heads have become trapped in gaps in bunk beds that did not meet requirements set out in the bunk bed mandatory standard.
"Children have also suffered serious head injuries and fractures after falling from bunk beds that did not have the prescribed guard rails.
"It is alarming the respondents supplied bunk beds to consumers when they knew they did not comply with the mandatory standard.
The mandatory standard for bunk beds came into effect in November 2002. It includes a requirement for guardrails and specific measurements for gaps and protrusions that could be entrapment or strangulation hazards. The aim of this standard is to minimise the risk of injuries to children in the domestic environment.
"Traders must find out whether the products they sell to consumers are covered by mandatory standards and if so, ensure those products comply.
"There are really no excuses for breaching a mandatory standard. Don't run the risk – of causing any harm to a consumer or prosecution by the ACCC," Mr Samuel said.
For a full list of products which are subject to mandatory standards visit the ACCC's website, click on the 'For Business' heading and access the 'Product safety and Labelling' link.
For information regarding products subject to a product safety recall, consumers can access the government recall website at: www.recalls.gov.au.
Mr Brent Rebecca (02) 6243 1317 or 0408 995 408
Release # NR 039/09
Infocentre 1300 302 502