Decathlon has been hit with a $1.5 million fine from the ACCC for selling items that did not company with the applicable mandatory safety standards.
The ACCC declared the sporting retailer was selling sports and recreation goods that did not comply with the applicable mandatory product safety standards, including 14 models of basketball rings, backboards, and five models of portable swimming pools. From December 2020, more than 400 basketball rings and backboards were sold, and over 300 portable swimming pools, both online and in-store.
“Safety standards exist to protect consumers when using certain products. It is essential that businesses comply with safety warning and labelling requirements to protect consumers from the risk of serious injury or even death from the use of these products,” shared Delia Rickard, the ACCC Deputy Chair.
“Mandatory safety standards exist to reduce the risk of death and serious injury to consumers, especially children, when using these types of products. By not including these important warnings, Decathlon put consumers at risk of serious harm when they were using the Decathlon swimming pools, basketball rings and backboards,” she said.
These issues can result in ‘serious or fatal injuries’ if not secured properly, especially in circumstances such as installation on brick walls, which cannot handle the stress of slam dunks. “It is illegal to sell products in Australia that do not comply with mandatory safety standards, and consumers have a right to expect that products they purchase will not endanger their safety, or the safety of their family and others,” she said.
Of this decision, the CEO of Decathlon Australia, Olivier Robinet, has thanked the ACCC for the resolution of the matter and is looking to invest further into the Australian leg of the business. “The ACCC plays an important role in working with businesses to keep the Australian community safe and informed and we value and respect their work,” Robinet shared.
“As a brand and one of the world’s largest sporting goods designers and retailers, we are proud of our heritage and our commitment to helping and supporting people to be active and participate in sport and recreation in a safe, fun and affordable way. Through our low-cost approach, we make sport accessible for many.
“We have been researching, developing and testing high-quality sporting products for over 45 years and our engineers and designers are among the best in the world. We operate in over 57 countries and we work hard to deliver products and labelling for each and every product that meets the requirements of each jurisdiction,” he said.
Decathlon’s products which have been flagged by the ACCC currently are in accordance with European and Singapore guidelines, Robinet explained. Furthermore, he shared his disappointment with the findings, and further explained that the labels now are in accordance with Australian requirements.
“These products now carry labels in accordance with Australian requirements, as do all of our products,” he said. “As soon as we were made aware of the European labelling in 2018, we withdrew the products from sale and updated the labels for the Australian market.
“Our basketball rings and backboards and portable swimming pools are sold all over the world as well as here in Australia and they are some of our most popular and much-loved products, especially now with so many people in lockdown at home – being able to shoot hoops in your yard is a great way to engage in sport at home and stay safe. No one has ever been injured or had any product quality issues with these items. Quality and safety are at the heart of everything we do,” Robinet shared.
The Federal Court of Australia has since handed down a fine of $1.5 million to Decathlon for the mislabelling and has been ordered to pay the ACCC’s costs. The Court has also ordered the retailer to publish a corrective notice on its website and implement the ACL compliance program.
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