ACCC sues Thermomix over mishandling of burns cases
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is taking Thermomix to court, alleging the company forced customers injured while operating the high-end kitchen appliance to sign confidentiality agreements.
The ACCC has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court alleging that Thermomix demanded injured customers sign documents preventing them from disparaging the brand before issuing refunds or replacements, and refused refunds or replacements requested by other customers.
"Consumers who have purchased a faulty product have rights under the Australian Consumer Law to remedies which businesses cannot restrict, alter, or remove, and this includes getting a repair or replacement for the product, or a refund," says ACCC acting chair Delia Rickard.
Faulty sealing rings on the TM31 model Thermomix caused the lid to open at high speed, spraying boiling liquid.
More than 100,000 TM31 models were distributed for sale in Australia.
In 14 instances, the company failed to report within the mandatory two-day period that customers had been injured while operating the device, the ACCC alleges.
"The law requires that suppliers must act to notify the ACCC as soon as they become aware of any person who has suffered a serious injury associated with the goods they have supplied. This requirement exists to protect the safety of Australian consumers by helping to prevent further injuries," Rickard says.
Despite the string of defective appliances, the ACCC alleges Thermomix failed to notify customers of the problem, continued to sell the faulty TM31 model, and made misleading statements to the press about its 2014 recall.
"Suppliers must act swiftly to notify their customers as soon as they learn of a potential safety hazard with their products," Rickard says.