Tesla Australia Cops a Penalty for Button Battery Non-Compliance

Tesla Australia Cops a Penalty for Button Battery Non-Compliance

Tesla has paid $155,460 in penalties after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) issued 10 infringement notices to the company relating to button battery safety standards.

Last year, it was mandated in Australia that all products that use button batteries would need a warning (including Airtags). The new rules came into effect following deaths and injuries caused by button batteries, particularly by children swallowing them, or inserting them into their nostrils. The ACCC said three children died after inserting or ingesting these small batteries.

And now, the ACCC is proving that it is serious about keeping young Aussies safe. The Commission alleges that Tesla has failed to comply with required safety tests for its supplied key fob models, and for two illuminated door sill models (that sit on the undersides of the car door sills when you enter). The Commission also alleges that Tesla failed to provide required safety warnings.

Ten infringement notices were provided to Tesla regarding three key fob models and two illuminated door sills, applying to all four car models sold by Tesla locally between June 2022 and May 2023. 952 items relating to the infringement notices were sold during this period.

“Button batteries can be lethal for young children, and the Australian mandatory standards are designed to reduce the risk of injury through testing of the safety of products containing them before they are sold, and explicit warnings on the packaging of the products,” ACCC deputy chair Catriona Lowe said.

“Any failure to test these products before they are sold poses an unacceptable risk to children. We expect all companies, large and small, to comply with the mandatory button battery standards to ensure children are protected from the dangers of button batteries.”

The ACCC said that, since it had started its investigation in June, Tesla had removed the involved products from sale and had begun testing them, with the Model 3, Model Y, and Model X fobs found to comply with Australian rules (though the Model X itself is no longer available for purchase in Australia). The Commission added that Tesla will only recommence supply once test results are obtained and the items are confirmed compliant with standards. Additionally, the ACCC said that button battery safety information has now been provided directly to Tesla customers who purchased these products.

“Key fobs are often in easy reach and can be attractive to children, so if the battery compartment is not secure and the batteries become accessible, they pose a very real danger to children,” Lowe added.

Please, for the safety of your loved ones, keep button batteries out of reach and secured so that they cannot be easily accessed (this includes car key fobs, obviously).

If you suspect a loved one has swallowed a button battery, please contact the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26.

Image: a Tesla key fob, Tesla

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