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Thermomix admission highlights gap in incident reporting

CHOICE calls for incident reports to be made public following Thermomix's admission it misled consumers

29 October 2017

Consumer group CHOICE is urging the Federal Government to make mandatory incident reports public after appliance maker, Thermomix admitted to downplaying the recall of its $2000 blender that landed a number of people in hospital.

Under Australian Consumer Law when a company becomes aware of its product killing or injuring someone they have 48 hours to report it to the Government but this information is then kept hidden from consumers.  

"While we welcome Thermomix's admission that it claimed its dangerous product was 'absolutely safe' and it was 'not a product recall', it will come as cold comfort to the many burns victims," says CHOICE Head of Media Tom Godfrey.

"We know that despite knowing customers had suffered serious injuries as early as March 2013, there were nine incidents and more than 300 repair reports filed before Thermomix took action. [1]

"What's worse, the company took up to 1201 days to file some of its mandatory incident reports, instead of the required 48 hours.

"Thermomix blames the delay on procedural issues but we believe the company should not be allowed to hide behind its German-based manufacturer."

The company's admission that it downplayed the seriousness of the recall also highlights the need for the public release of mandatory incident reports.

"If these reports were public, Thermomix's delaying tactics and heavy-handed treatment of its customers would have been revealed much earlier," says Mr Godfrey.

CHOICE says it's concerning the Australian distributor believes that a product fault that can cause burns so severe they require hospitalisation does not count as a 'major' failure.  

"This company's ongoing attempts to avoid responsibility for its own bad behaviour and poor treatment of consumers should come as a warning to anyone looking to purchase one of its products in the future," Mr Godfrey says.

"No one should be pressured into signing a non-disclosure agreement in order to access a refund for a faulty product, but this is exactly what Thermomix did. 

CHOICE has had long-standing concerns about the TM31's safety risks, and the way the company deals with complaints. In May 2016, we raised Thermomix safety concerns with the ACCC through Australia's first mass incident report.

CHOICE's report found 83 incidents with TM31 and four incidents with TM5 machines, with at least 18 people needing medical treatment after being injured using their Thermomix. [2]

You can join CHOICE's campaign to reform Australian Consumer Law here: campaigns.choice.com.au/consumerlaw

Media Inquiries

Tom Godfrey, Head of Media and Spokesperson - 0430 172 669 - @choice_news


[1] https://www.choice.com.au/home-and-living/kitchen/all-in-one-kitchen-machines/articles/thermomix-knew-tm31-was-unsafe-accc-220617

[2] https://www.choice.com.au/thermoburns#mass-incident