Commerce Commission appeals ‘inadequate’ fine over unsafe toy sales

(Source: Bigstock)

The Commerce Commission is appealing what it describes as a “manifestly inadequate” sentence handed down by the Auckland High Court to NZME Advisory Limited last month for violating product safety legislation. 

NZME sold magnetic puzzle toys through its formerly owned online business GrabOne

The prosecution came after a child swallowed two magnets from one of the toys provided by NZME, necessitating extensive surgery to remove them.

Commission chair John Small said the regulatory body originally proposed a sentence of $140,000 to $168,000 (after discounts for mitigating considerations) and is appealing the $87,750 penalty handed down in May. The commission will argue that the fine levied is clearly insufficient. 

“The fines imposed on breaches must be significant enough to deter businesses from similar conduct and encourage them to put processes in place to ensure they comply with their obligations,” Small said. 

The magnetic toys given were made of small, powerful magnetic balls. They were sold in violation of the notice of a dangerous product, which prohibits the sale of magnets of a specified size and strength sold in sets of two or more. 

Between October 2020 and September 2021, NZME marketed 213 magnetic toys. NZME recalled the sets after being approached by the commission and notified customers of the recall.

The commission said it would not comment further on the issue while it remained before the court. 

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