The Commerce Commission is urging consumers to take a second look at the toys and bikes they purchase this Christmas, as four companies are warned over product safety.
“We want consumers to think hard about the toys and bikes they buy this Christmas. Toys for children 36 months and under must be able to take the knocks they get without pieces coming off which could be a choking hazard, and bikes must have the correct type of front and rear brakes fitted. So, when you’re shopping this Christmas, think twice: is that baby or toddler toy the right size? Does it have very small parts? Does it feel like it can it take the knocks without small parts breaking off? Does that bike have front and rear brakes?” said Stuart Wallace, the Commerce Commission’s Head of Consumer.
The four companies warned are HMH International Limited (trading as Gift House), Jay International Limited (trading as 123 Dollar Store Huntly), Mighty Ape Limited and Southern Gold Limited (trading as Just Incredible) (In Liquidation).
The Commission has completed 24 product safety prosecutions (including for products other than toys) since the start of 2017, with fines totalling more than $1.5 million.
“The obligation is on retailers to make sure that the toys and bikes they sell are compliant. Almost all our product safety prosecutions come from unannounced visits to retailers and we will continue that important work. However, we also urge consumers to do their homework about the kinds of toys suitable for children aged under 3 and if in doubt, ask the retailer what checks and inspections have been done before they buy. We have produced a video called ‘The story of a toy’ to help businesses and consumers understand the importance of the standards for children’s toys. We’ve got a poster asking ‘what’s wrong with this picture?’ available in multiple languages, and we have other product safety guidance,” said Mr Wallace.
123 Dollar Store, Huntly
Jay International Limited (trading as 123 Dollar Store, Huntly) supplied a hammer toy, baby hand rattle and a dolphin bath toy which, in the Commission’s view, did not comply with the mandatory product safety standard for children’s toys. Small parts came free from the hammer and bath toy during testing and the parts were a choking hazard.
The rattle’s size allowed it to pass through a testing template, meaning it was also a choking hazard.
HMH International Limited trading as Gift House supplied various toys for young children as well as children’s nightwear. In the Commission’s view, the toys and nightwear did not comply with the applicable mandatory product safety standards.
Small parts came free from the toys during testing and the parts were a choking hazard. The nightwear did not have the correct format fire hazard information label attached.
Southern Gold Limited trading as Just Incredible (In Liquidation) supplied four rubber squeeze toys which, in the Commission’s view, did not comply with the mandatory product safety standard for children’s toys. During testing squeaker units came free from the toys, and the squeakers were a choking risk because of their small size.
The smaller bath toys were a choking risk because of their shape and size.
Mighty Ape supplied 65 ‘Royal Baby’ branded children’s bikes and 33 ‘Royal Baby’ branded adult bikes that, in the Commission’s view, did not comply with the mandatory product safety standard for pedal bicycles.
The children’s bikes were not equipped with a back pedal brake (although they had a hand-operated back brake), and the adult bikes’ brake levers were incorrectly configured. In addition, the bikes were not permanently marked with the name and address of the importer.
A warning explains the Commerce Commission’s opinion that the conduct at issue is likely to have breached the law. Only the Courts can decide whether a breach of the law has in fact occurred.
The purpose of a warning letter is to inform the recipient of the Commission’s view that there has been a likely breach of the law, to suggest a change in the recipient’s behaviour, and to encourage future compliance with the law