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Decathlon fined $1.5 million for breaking consumer law

French sporting goods business Decathlon has been fined $1.5 million for selling products that failed to meet Australia’s mandatory safety standards – an act in breach of consumer law.

The Federal Court handed down the ruling, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, after the business sold more than 400 unsafe basketball rings and backboards, and over 300 portable pools, which failed to include relevant safety labelling, or installation and use instructions.

“Mandatory safety standards exist to reduce the risk of death and serious injury to consumers, especially children, when using these types of products,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“By not including these important warnings, Decathlon put consumers at risk of serious harm when they were using the Decathlon swimming pools, basketball rings and backboards.”

According to Decathlon, the products contained labelling in accordance with European and Singaporean standards, rather than Australian. This has now been rectified.

The basketball rings and backboards were made to appear safe to attach to brick walls, which is untrue: if a customer utilised the product in this way they risked fatal injury if the wall failed to hold the weight.

Similarly, the portable pools failed to warn parents that children had drowned in pools of similar size (over 30 centimeters deep), and that adequate supervision and pool fencing laws applied to the product.

“It is illegal to sell products in Australia that do not comply with mandatory safety standards, and consumers have a right to expect that products they purchase will not endanger their safety, or the safety of their family and others,” Rickard said.

Decathlon admitted that it had contravened consumer law, and consented to issue a corrective notice to customers and implement an Australia Consumer Law compliance program to ensure it complies moving forward.

Decathlon Australia’s CEO Olivier Robinet welcomed the decision, and said they respect the work the ACCC does to keep consumers safe.

“Our basketball rings and backboards and portable swimming pools are sold all over the world as well as here in Australia and they are some of our most popular and much loved products, especially now with so many people in lockdown at home – being able to shoot hoops in your yard is a great way to engage in sport at home and stay safe,” Robinet said.

“No one has ever been injured or had any product quality issues with these items. Quality and safety are at the heart of everything we do.”

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