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Online trader fined $15,000 for selling flammable infant sleep bags

Online trader, Philip Robinson, has been convicted and ordered to pay nearly $15,000 in fines and costs for selling non-compliant infant sleep bags known as Grobags.

ACCC mandatory product safety reporting requirementSmall business owners selling children’s clothing/accessories are being warned about the need comply with Australia’s product safety labelling requirements.

“Mr Robinson supplied Grobags without the fire hazard information labels required by the mandatory standard for children’s nightwear,” ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said today.

“His conduct prevented parents and carers making an informed decision about the garment’s level of fire risk before purchase.

“It was clear from Justice Besanko’s comments that Mr Robinson’s conduct was of concern to the court. In his decision Judge Besanko observed Mr Robinson was out to make an easy profit by selling sleep bags in circumstances where he was aware there was a problem with their sale but failed to make adequate inquiries.”

Justice Besanko further commented that the importance of consumer product safety standards and the fact Mr Robinson made no or inadequate inquiries at certain times meant that it was appropriate for him to exercise his discretion to record the conviction.  He accepted Mr Robinson’s admission that he was at least reckless as to whether the Grobags complied with the mandatory standard.

Mr Samuel said the court’s observations in this case were significant.

“There is an increased risk of severe burns and death associated with sleepwear that fails requirements of the mandatory standard for children’s nightwear,” Mr Samuel said.

Children in particular can suffer serious burns if the nightwear they are wearing catches fire.

“While parents and carers must always take care to ensure children are kept away from fire hazards, accidents can occur. That is why it is crucial to know that the nightwear they are buying will minimise flammability in the event of a fire,” he said.

He warned suppliers who do not comply with the mandatory standard that they not only risk the safety of young Australians, but they also risk the expense of product recalls and legal action by the ACCC, including hefty penalties.

“Whether you’re a sole online trader or a major department store, all suppliers have equal responsibility to Australians to supply products that meet mandatory safety standards,” he said.