Businesses Are Still Flogging Unsafe Button Batteries and the ACCC Isn’t Happy

Businesses Are Still Flogging Unsafe Button Batteries and the ACCC Isn’t Happy

In June last year, the ACCC set a handful of safety standards around the use of button batteries – the things most commonly found in items like Apple AirTags. Since then, the watchdog has handed out fines to The Reject Shop and Dusk for the supply of novelty products containing button batteries and today, the ACCC has revealed it’s pretty fed up with businesses failing to comply with its directive.

The standards stipulate that the products using button batteries must have secure compartments. Mostly to prevent children accessing the batteries. On that, button batteries must be supplied in child-resistant packaging and both the products and batteries must have additional warnings and emergency advice on the batteries, packaging, and instructions. On the supplier end, they have to ensure products have been compliance tested.

While The Reject Shop and Dusk were fined a total of $240,000 for their alleged activity, the penalty for not adhering to the ACCC mandate is a maximum of either $10 million, three times the value of the benefit received from the item/s’ sale, or 10 per cent of annual turnover in the preceding 12 months – whichever is higher.

For individuals, the maximum financial penalty for a breach of the Australian Consumer Law will be $500,000.

But that hasn’t deterred everyone.

According to the ACCC, more than a third of products sold in Australia containing button batteries failed to include mandatory warnings. That stat comes via a national surveillance program coordinated by the ACCC that probed more than 400 businesses and eight online platforms and found “concerning levels of non-compliance” with the button battery information standards.

“While more than 90 per cent of products and button batteries assessed likely complied with the safety standards based on a visual inspection, 34 per cent of products containing the batteries and 28 per cent of packs of button batteries did not include mandatory warning information or symbols,” the ACCC clarified.

Since the button battery safety and information standards commenced, the ACCC and state and territory consumer protection agencies have issued infringement notices, seized products, negotiated voluntary recalls, and sent warnings to companies that failed to comply with the standards.

It’s clear the ACCC is not letting up and it wants you to report safety incidents to the ACCC at the Product Safety Australia website.

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