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ACCC launches iPhone app for recalled products

Wednesday, 2 November 2011 | By Michelle Hammond
Retailers are being urged to review their stock, after the consumer watchdog launched an app enabling customers to check for recalled products when out shopping.

 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission today launched its Recalls Australia iPhone app, providing customers with easily accessible information on recalled consumer goods.

 

According to ACCC deputy chairman Peter Kell, the app is designed to assists consumers when they’re out shopping and wish to track the history of a particular product.

 

“For example, you could be at a garage sale where a recalled product might have unwittingly been made available for purchase,” Kell said at the launch of the app.

 

The app lists information for each recall, enabling customers to quickly identify the recalled product, where it was sold, and what to do if they have one of the products.

 

“Additionally, the app allows you to report products you think are unsafe directly to the ACCC. You can even attach a photo you’ve taken from your phone of the product,” Kell said.

 

The bulk of recalled products are items used by, or for, children. A recent example is the recalled “Horror Make-up” children’s face paint, tested during an ACCC product safety survey.

 

Although the survey indicated a generally good level of compliance among most toy retailers, the make-up set was discovered to contain a high level of lead in excess of the amount permitted.

 

The face paint was sold through various discount variety stores, but the ACCC has urged consumers to cease using the product immediately.

 

An ACCC spokesperson says when suppliers become aware of defective or unsafe products, they can conduct a voluntary recall to remove the product from the marketplace.

 

“A responsible Minister can also order a compulsory recall, if required. The ACCC administers a national database, website and information system for recalls of specific and general consumer products,” the spokesperson says.

 

“Suppliers” include manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers, so there is often more than one supplier responsible for a particular product.

 

According to the ACCC, individual suppliers are responsible for the investigation and rectification of safety-related hazards in products that they supply.

 

A safety hazard may be identified by various means, including:

  • Detection by the supplier undertaking the recall or another supplier within the supply chain.
  • Complaint from a consumer.
  • Detection by an industry body or consumer organisation.
  • Detection by the ACCC, other specialist Commonwealth regulator, or state or territory product safety regulator.