16/06/2017 - 13:39

ACCC takes Thermomix to court

16/06/2017 - 13:39

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

The Perth-based distributor of the Thermomix kitchen appliances in Australia is being taken to court by the consumer watchdog for allegedly misleading customers when the products were found to be dangerously faulty.

Thermomix managing director Grace Mazur with chief operating officer Grant Vernon.

The Perth-based distributor of the Thermomix kitchen appliances in Australia is being taken to court by the consumer watchdog for allegedly misleading customers when the products were found to be dangerously faulty.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said today that Balcatta-headquartered Thermomix, which acts as the Australian distributor for German cooking appliance maker Vorwerk, had contravened several provisions of the Australian Consumer Law.

The issues centre on Thermomix’s TM31 model, which was supplied in Australia until September 2014. At that time, it was revealed the model’s faulty lid sealing ring had resulted in numerous burn-related injuries.

“The ACCC alleges that Thermomix misled customers about their consumer guarantee rights, failed to comply with mandatory reporting requirements for injuries arising from the use of the appliances, made false representations and engaged in misleading conduct regarding the safety of the TM31 model, and made false and misleading statements about its 2014 recall,” the watchdog said in a statement.

In particular, the ACCC alleges that Thermomix, which includes former Minderoo Group head of operations Grant Vernon as its chief operating officer, told customers they would only be entitled to certain remedies under consumer law if they signed agreements with non-disclosure terms and other terms that prevented them from making disparaging comments about the company.

“The ACCC also alleges that Thermomix represented to other consumers that it would not provide refunds or replacements as a remedy at any time,” it said.

“In relation to the mandatory reporting requirements, the ACCC alleges that Thermomix failed to notify the Commonwealth minister within two days of becoming aware that a person had suffered a serious injury associated with the use, or foreseeable misuse, of a Thermomix appliance.

“The ACCC alleges that this occurred in 14 instances because Thermomix failed to give notice of these serious injury incidents within the mandatory two-day notification period.”

The ACCC has also alleged that Thermomix continued to supply the faulty TM31 model after it had become aware of the safety flaw and failed to disclose the issue to consumers as soon as it became aware of it.

The TM31 model was ultimately recalled in October 2014, at which point the company began distributing the TM5 model.

“The ACCC also alleges that in March 2016, Thermomix caused false or misleading statements to be made in the media about the nature of the October 2014 recall action,” the watchdog continued.

In the Federal Court, the ACCC will be seeking declarations, pecuniary penalties, injunctions, corrective publication orders, compliance program orders and costs.

ACCC acting chair Delia Rickard said suppliers must act swiftly to notify their customers as soon as they learn of a potential safety hazard with their products.

“The law requires that suppliers must act to notify the ACCC as soon as they become aware of any person who has suffered a serious injury associated with the goods they have supplied,” she said.

“This requirement exists to protect the safety of Australian consumers by helping to prevent further injuries.

“Consumers who have purchased a faulty product have rights under the Australian Consumer Law to remedies which businesses cannot restrict, alter, or remove, and this includes getting a repair or replacement for the product, or a refund.”

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options