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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why recall products?

  2. Who is responsible for product recalls in Australia?

  3. Who has to be told about recalls?

  4. Who monitors effectiveness of recalls in Australia?

  5. Where can I obtain a guide for business on the recall of unsafe consumer products?

  6. Where do I find information on electrical or gas appliance warnings that are not product recalls notified under the Trade Practices Act?

  7. What is the source of the data on this Web site?

  8. Can you provide me with numerical data on Australian product recalls?

  9. What if I've bought something that gets recalled?

  10. Reading Product Recall attachments.

Links within the following area will open in a new window and take you out of the Product Recalls Australia site.

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1. Why recall products?

If a product is defective or unsafe, or likely to cause damage or injury in any way, it should be recalled as soon as possible. Unsafe products are usually recalled from the marketplace by the supplier (manufacturer). The overarching Australian consumer protection legislation (the Trade Practices Act 1974) does not provide a definition of the term 'recall'. The ACCC takes the view that if a supplier voluntarily asks consumers to carefully dispose of or return defective goods for a refund or replacement, then that is seen as a 'recall'. The same goes if the supplier asks consumers or other suppliers to return the goods for some form of modification if the defect is safety-related.

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2. Who is responsible for product recalls in Australia?

Voluntary safety-related recalls are the responsibility of the supplier. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer (the Australian Government's consumer affairs spokesman) does have the power to order a compulsory recall of a product if it will or may cause injury to a person AND where it appears that the supplier has not taken satisfactory action to prevent the goods from causing injury.

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3. Who has to be told about recalls?

Suppliers undertaking safety-related recalls are required by the Trade Practices Act to notify the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer within two days of commencing recall action. Product recall notifications can be addressed to the Parliamentary Secretary care of the ACCC. Other organisations that should be notified are State and Territory consumer affairs authorities, and the following authorities for specific product groups:

For electrical or gas appliance warnings (which are not product recalls notified under the Trade Practices Act), State and Territory electrical or gas regulators may publish warnings from time to time concerning specific appliances.

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4. Who monitors effectiveness of recalls in Australia?

The ACCC monitors and audits the effectiveness of product recalls of general consumer goods and the other Commonwealth regulators responsible for specific products (e.g. FSANZ for food products) monitor recalls of those products.

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5. Where can I obtain a guide for business on the recall of unsafe consumer products?

By clicking on the highlighted link you can obtain a guide for business on the recall of unsafe consumer products.

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6. Where do I find information on electrical or gas appliance warnings that are not product recalls notified under the Trade Practices Act?

State and Territory electrical or gas regulators may publish warnings from time to time concerning specific appliances. Further information on electrical or gas appliances warnings may be obtained by contacting the Electrical Equipment Safety Regulators or gas regulator at www.gtrc.gov.au

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7. What is the source of the data on this Web site?

It is based on publicly available information supplied by the company undertaking the recall in newspaper advertisements or other forms of announcements, and on official notification to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, under the requirements of section 65R of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

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8. Can you provide me with numerical data on Australian product recalls?

The following link provides a statistical summary of Australian product recalls by product group since 1986/1987.

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9. What if I've bought something that gets recalled?

If you buy a product that is later recalled you have certain rights' depending on the type of recall and you should check with the supplier to find out exactly what applies in your case.

Generally, if a product you buy is recalled, you will be asked to return it to where you bought it, for a full refund.

The supplier may offer you a refund or a suitable replacement product of the same value. Alternatively, they may offer to return the product to you after they have made any necessary repairs.

If you have any queries about your rights or obligations in relation to a recall, contact the ACCC's Product Safety Policy Section on 02 6243 1262 or 02 6243 1206 or email recalls@recalls.gov.au. You can also contact the relevant consumer protection authority in your State or Territory, Electrical Equipment Regulator, or Gas Technical Regulator.

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10. Reading Product Recall attachments.

The attachments to the Product Recall notifications are in both Microsoft Word and Acrobat Acrobat PDF formats.

If you do not have Microsoft Word 97 or later installed on your computer, you can download a free Word viewer at http://office.microsoft.com/downloads/2000/wd97vwr32.aspx

To view the Acrobat format files, the minimum you require is the free Acrobat Reader, available for various computers and operating systems, at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readermain.html

Instructions on how to install and use these programs are also available at those web sites.

The ACCC is providing this information for the convenience of Internet users and it does not constitute endorsement of material at those sites, or any associated organisation, product or service.

The listing of a person or organisation in any part of this web site in no way implies any form of endorsement by the Commonwealth of Australia of the products or services provided by that person or organisation.

Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat are trademarks of their respective companies.

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