Australia's failure to apply mandatory safety standards before products hit the market means your home can become the test lab.
A recent case shows how this can play out.
As of November last year there were about 8000 LG solar lithium-ion batteries in homes across Australia with the potential to overheat and cause a fire.
The batteries are in a wide range of energy storage systems, including LG, SolaX, Opal, Redback, Red Earth, Eguana and VARTA.
The batteries can catch on fire at any time, without warning
A safety warning notice issued in November didn't mince words: "There is a serious risk of injury or death and property damage if a fire occurs. Every house fire has the potential to be deadly. The batteries can catch on fire at any time, without warning."
So far there have been 13 incidents of property damage linked to the affected batteries, including one house that was destroyed.
Around 3000 batteries have been located, but the rest are still out there.
Now this product safety failure has been escalated because LG isn't doing enough to help.
The batteries can catch fire at any time, without warning. (Image: ACCC)
Is a compulsory recall coming?
Earlier this week, Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones issued a proposed recall of the problem batteries, though he stopped short of making it compulsory.
ACCC deputy chair Catriona Lowe says a proposed recall notice "is a formal step towards a compulsory recall, and highlights the serious risk posed by the around 5000 affected LG solar storage batteries that have not yet been located".
The proposed recall also means LG has to try harder to publicise it, an area where manufacturers selling goods in Australia have a poor record.
The next step is for any suppliers of the affected LG batteries, including LG, to request that the ACCC hold a conference about the proposed recall, though that's optional.
Then it's up to the ACCC to make a recommendation to the Assistant Treasurer on whether the recall should be made mandatory.
Lowes urges anyone with a solar energy storage system to check whether they have one of the faulty batteries.
Do I own a faulty LG solar battery?
- To find out if your battery is affected by the recall, go to the LG website and click on the electrical safety recall notice.
- Enter the serial number on your battery to see if it has been recalled.
- Note that affected LG batteries may be in other branded systems including SolaX and in unbranded solar energy systems.
If you do own one of the faulty batteries, follow the instructions in your manual on how to switch it off and contact LG immediately.
If you have trouble switching it off, contact the installer or LG at 1300 677 273 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Getting your money back
Since a tendency to start a house fire counts as a major fault, you can demand a refund, replacement or, if applicable, a software update from LG if you own one of the affected batteries.
The remedy you're entitled to depends on the serial number of the battery.
LG will also compensate customers who face higher electricity bills after switching off their batteries.
- For affected LG batteries in SolaX or Opal battery systems, contact SolaX Power on 1300 476 529 or email email@example.com.
- For LG, Redback, Red Earth, Eguana or VARTA or any other affected energy storage systems, contact LG on 1300 677 273 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.