Toy retailers are pushing for an extended time frame for mandatory injury reports.
According to the Mandatory Reporting Guidelines, retailers must alert the ACCC when its consumer products are associated with the serious injury, illness or death of a person, within 2 days of “becoming aware” of a serious injury, illness or death in association with the product.
Under s 131 of the ACL, as summarised by the Guidelines, there are two ways in which a retailer will be taken to “become aware” of a serious injury, illness or death:
- If the retailer itself believes that use or foreseeable misuse of the goods have caused the injury/illness/death; or
- If the retailer is alerted to another person who believes that use or foreseeable misuse of the goods caused the injury/illness/death.
These guidelines broadly require that a retailer report to the ACCC within 2 days of a consumer alerting them to any serious injury, illness or death, starting the day after the report is made. Retail lobby groups and The Retail Council argue that these laws do not provide businesses with enough time to conduct thorough internal investigations, particularly on weekends.
It should be noted that the Act defines “business day” in its definition section, and s 131 does not use such wording – it specifically requires reporting within “two days”. However, in practice the ACCC may provide some leeway by extending the date to two business’ days.
The Business Council of Australia suggests a four day time frame would allow retailers more time for internal investigation to determine whether a product has actually caused serious injury, illness or death. On the other hand if a product is out in the market and has risk of causing injury do you think 2 days is the maximum that should be permitted?
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