Recall obligations for suppliers under voluntary recall

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When parts are identified and recalled, the Consumer Product Safety Recall Guidelines sets out what a supplier should do when conducting a product safety recall. Click here for the Consumer Safety Product Recall Guidelines.

The guidelines define a voluntary recall as:

• When a supplier of a consumer product initiates the recall and voluntarily takes action to remove the goods from distribution, sale and or consumption.

The word ‘voluntary’ is not intended to infer that a supplier may choose not to remove the product from sale. When a recall occurs, all of the goods subject to the recall must be removed from the marketplace.

A supplier, as defined by the Competition and Consumer Act has the same meaning (corresponding) as supply. Click here for the Competition and Consumer Act, Schedule 2, Chapter 1, (2) Definitions.

Supply, includes:

(a) in relation to goods—supply (including re-supply) by way of sale, exchange, lease, hire or hire-purchase;

A supplier is the entity that has primary responsibility for the supply of safe consumer products in Australia. ‘Suppliers’ includes manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers. Click here for Consumer Safety Product Recall Guidelines.

Remember that anyone in trade or commerce must provide statutory guarantees under Australian Consumer Law to ensure goods and services are of an acceptable quality. Acceptable quality means:

• Acceptable in appearance and finish,
• Free from defects
• Safe
• Durable

In regards to items affected by recall, they fail the test of acceptable quality.

Each entity in the supply chain is responsible for assessing and (if necessary) rectifying potential safety hazards presented by the consumer products that they supply.

All suppliers in the supply chain should also be able to demonstrate due diligence in the procurement and supply of those goods. The responsibility to ensure consumer goods are safe and fit for purpose may not be discharged to other parties in the supply chain.

Where the ACCC detects or becomes aware of a safety related hazard, it will attempt to identify the supplier at the highest level in the supply chain. Recall effectiveness is largely dependent on the notification of and cooperation between all entities in the supply chain.

The ultimate goal of a recall is to retrieve as many unsafe products from consumers as possible and prevent any further distribution of the affected product in the market.

If a voluntary recall notice for consumer goods is in force, a person must not, in trade or commerce:

(a) if the notice identifies a defect in, or a dangerous characteristic of, the consumer goods--supply consumer goods of the kind to which the notice relates which contain that defect or have that characteristic; or

(b) in any other case-supply consumer goods of the kind to which the notice relates.

If a person is in contravention of the above, penalties may be applied and that person may be liable for loss or damage suffered by an individual.

Contact the MTA’s Industry Engagement Specialist Nathan Groves by clicking here if you have further questions regarding obligations in regards to voluntary recalls.