Thousands of dangerous toys taken off the shelves


In Victoria over 3,300 dangerous toys will be destroyed after successful court action by Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) against a Moorabbin-based importer and wholesaler.

Minister for Consumer Affairs Victoria, Michael O’Brien MP has welcomed a decision by the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court declaring that the trader had supplied a number of children’s toys that failed to comply with relevant safety standards and ban orders, in contravention of the Fair Trading Act 1999.

In October 2010, CAV inspectors executed a search warrant on a Moorabbin warehouse, occupied by a business trading as “Basel Sports & Tech.” As a result, a total of 3,363 dangerous children's toys were seized.

Inspectors identified 12 different children's toy product lines that presented choking, strangulation and projectile hazards, including toy guns, bath toys, wind-up camels and a pressure sketch pad.

“The products seized posed a variety of risks: removable components or parts can pose a choking hazard, and toys with a discharge mechanism could severely injure children’s eyes,” Mr O’Brien said.

“These products have can lead to serious injury or even death, so I am delighted they are no longer on the shelves.”

The defendant, Mr Bruce Bin Chen, was ordered to pay for the destruction and disposal of the seized items, as well as $3000 to CAV’s costs.  He was also ordered to pay for the publishing of a Product Safety and Recall Notice in the Moorabbin Leader newspaper to alert the public of the potential dangers of his products.  In addition, Mr Chen was ordered to pay a full refund to any consumer returning the goods specified in the notice.

The court also made orders restraining Mr Chen from carrying on the business of carrying on a business of supplying to wholesalers or retailers, or as a retailer to other purchasers, goods subject to a Mandatory Safety Standard or an Interim or Permanent Ban Order, until such time that he has implements a specified Compliance Program.

Mr O’Brien said the safety of all Victorians was his primary concern.

“Product safety inspectors are constantly monitoring Victorian traders to ensure products for sale meet safety standards,” he said.

“These inspectors have broad-ranging powers to search and seize products that do not comply with the law to keep people safe from harm.”

When inspectors detect an unsafe product, there are a range of actions available to regulators under the Australian Consumer Law.  These include seizing the unsafe products, public warning statements, asking suppliers to issue a voluntary recall, issuing mandatory recalls of products and enforcement when appropriate.

The maximum penalty for trading in unsafe products is a fine of $1.1 million for corporations and $220,000 for individuals.

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