13 Sep 2011

Mandatory reporting under the ACL triggers recalls, says ACCC

by Colin Loveday, Jocelyn Kellam

The ACCC has released figures on the new mandatory reporting requirements of the Australian Consumer Law, with a total of 911 mandatory reports being made during the first six months of 2011, and 40 recalls triggered by these reports and the ACCC’s product safety data clearinghouse.

According to the ACCC, 481 of the 911 confidential reports received were or are currently being assessed by the ACCC and 430 were referred to other regulators.

Deputy chair Peter Kell said that "Mandatory reporting has resulted in a significant improvement in product safety with the removal of hundreds of unsafe products from the marketplace."

Upon inquiry, the ACCC told us there were 352 recalls across all regulators in the 2010 calendar year, so it's unclear if the 40 triggered by mandatory reporting really suggest a rise in recalls. Without long-term data, it is difficult to assess the significance of these numbers.

What it does show though is that the ACCC is looking to exercise its powers under the Australian Consumer Law. The ACCC said in the same media release that it "is now reminding businesses that they must notify the ACCC within two days if they become aware that a product they have supplied has caused or may have caused serious injury, illness or death."

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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.