The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is putting retailers on notice after receiving 2400 product-related death, injury and illness complaints in the past 12 months.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims says the growing number of retailers sourcing less expensive products from overseas is to blame for the sharp rise in consumer injuries and product recalls.
“We are extremely concerned to think that quality assurance processes may be slipping resulting in consumers being injured,” Sims said at a Product Safety Week event on the Gold Coast.
“Let me be very clear: if retailers are discovered to have taken short cuts in applying basic quality assurance and control measures, at the expense of consumer safety, we will take action in any way we can.”
Complaints to the ACCC included chemical burns from cheap DIY teeth whiteners, brain and spinal cord damage from faulty ladders and dodgy infant recliners entrapping babies.
Some consumers even died after purchasing motorcycle helmets which failed to meet safety requirements.
The ACCC has already introduced a raft of reforms to improve consumer safety, including making it mandatory for retailers to report any injuries they become aware of within two days.
This has led to more product recalls.
Last financial year, 91 unsafe products were taken off the market, including four varieties of ladders and 28 different teeth whitening products.
Sims said the ACCC has a range of enforcement options that can be applied if retailers are caught taking short cuts in their product design and purchasing procedures.
“Australians want affordable goods, but more than that consumers want to be safe, and want their children to be safe, when using these goods,” he said.