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22 September 2014

Woolworths in strife over faulty products

Woolworths failed to warn customers about dangerous products

Supermarket chain knowingly sold unsafe items, the ACCC says.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has filed a lawsuit against Woolworths claiming that the supermarket company knowingly sold faulty products to consumers.

In a lawsuit filed in the Federal Court, the ACCC said the company made false safety claims about several home brand products such as deep fryers, drain cleaners, safety matches, folding chairs and stools.
It also alleged that Woolworths failed to file the required reports when it became aware the the products were dangerous.

“Consumers are entitled to expect that the goods that they purchase from retailers are safe, and that retailers will act swiftly when product defects are subsequently identified, to avoid further potential harm to consumers,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

Product faults included the potential for the deep fryer handle to detach when lifted, causing severe burns to the user. The drain cleaner was described as “poisonous and corrosive” substance with the potential for personal injury, while the ACCC said the folding stool was “not capable of withstanding its rated 100kg load”.

The products in question have since been recalled, but the ACCC says they are seeking the implementation of a product safety compliance program within the company.
Mr Sims said a safety policy was particularly important when products were outsourced from more affordable overseas manufacturers.
“Companies should ensure that they have effective quality assurance processes in place to prevent unsafe products from reaching their shelves. This is particularly the case where companies look to reduce costs in their supply chain by directly sourcing home brand products from overseas manufacturers.”

The matter is scheduled for a directions hearing in Sydney on November 4.