11 April 2018
Consumer group CHOICE welcomes the decision by the Federal Court to fine appliance manufacturer, Thermomix, $4.6 million after it admitted breaching Australian Consumer Law.
The fine comes after CHOICE lodged Australia's first mass incident report in mid-2016 with the ACCC alleging the company failed to meet its obligations under the law.
"Our report presented 87 Thermomix cases, with 18 people requiring treatment from a doctor or nurse," says CHOICE head of campaigns Sarah Agar.
"It also presented allegations the company attempted to blame victims and downplay the danger its product presented."
The Federal Court found Thermomix:
- Told its customers the TM31 machine was safe, when it was not.
- Told customers its product was not under recall, when it was.
- Made some customers sign unnecessary, onerous gag orders in order to access remedies
- Failed to give notice to the Commonwealth Minister within two days of becoming aware that a person had suffered serious injury.
"This case shows that if you sell a product that puts people in hospital, you cannot keep that secret and expect to get away with it," says Agar.
"We are delighted Thermomix has been called to account for its actions and we'd now like to see Australian Consumer Law strengthened so companies that breach the law are hit with even bigger penalties in the future.
"This case also highlights the fact that our product safety laws need reform, to help prevent this kind of conduct from happening again in the future.
"Sellers should have an obligation to make sure the products they sell are safe before they hit the shelves. This is why we are calling for the introduction of a General Safety Provision, similar to laws in other jurisdictions," says Agar.
Media contact: Tom Godfrey, CHOICE, Head of Media and Spokesperson: 0430 172 669