GAP baby clothes fail safety standards

Brand Republic Pty Ltd has paid five infringement notices totalling $51,000 and provided a court enforceable undertaking to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The penalties and undertaking are in relation to the supply of children’s nightwear that failed to comply with the mandatory consumer product safety standard for children’s nightwear.

Brand Republic operates GAP retail apparel stores in Melbourne and Sydney.

Between July 2011 and May 2013, Brand Republic sold five different ‘baby GAP’ branded children’s nightwear garments, with fire hazard warning labels attached in the incorrect position.

“The labelling requirements of the standard are very important as they are designed to reduce the risk of burn injuries to children,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

The garments sold by Brand Republic comprised one-piece garments and pyjamas.  The fire hazard warning labels were attached on a side seam of the one-piece garments and the pyjama tops. The standard required the labels to be attached on the inside back neck.

Three of the garments were also sold in packaging that was not marked with fire hazard information and obscured the ‘low fire danger’ warning labels attached to the garments. As the labels were obscured, the standard required the packaging to be marked with fire hazard information.

“All suppliers should have a comprehensive compliance program in place to ensure that goods being supplied to the public comply with mandatory standards,” Ms Rickard said.

“The ACCC will not hesitate to take enforcement action when businesses put consumers’ safety at risk, particularly the safety of children.”

As part of the court-enforceable undertaking, Brand Republic has agreed to:

  • not supply or offer to supply products that are subject to a prescribed consumer product safety standard unless they comply with that standard and it has obtained evidence that the products comply with that standard;
  • publish recall notices in respect of the garments;
  • provide refunds to consumers who return the garments; and
  • implement a trade practices compliance program.

The ACCC can issue infringement notices where it has reasonable grounds to believe a person has contravened certain consumer protection laws, as an alternative to the institution of court proceedings.

Payment of an infringement notice is not an admission of a contravention, but in this case Brand Republic has admitted in its undertaking to the ACCC that by supplying these garments, it contravened section 106 of the Australian Consumer Law.