Commerce Commission wins unsafe toys fine appeal

(Source: Bigstock)

The High Court has raised the fine imposed on NZME Advisory Limited (NZME) to $195,000 for the sale of unsafe toys, following an appeal from the Commerce Commission.

The commission argued that the original penalty of $87,750 was “manifestly inadequate” and did not appropriately reflect the presence of harm.

NZME sold 213 magnetic puzzle toys through its previously owned online store between October 2020 and September 2021. 

The sale breached an unsafe goods notice which prohibits the supply of certain magnets, sold in sets of two or more. It can be extremely dangerous if more than one of the magnets are swallowed, as they can attract each other within the body.

The prosecution came after a child swallowed two magnets from one of the toys and needed emergency surgery to remove them.

NZME later recalled the products and contacted customers to notify them of the recall.

Commissioner Anne Callinan said safety cases are about protecting consumers, often young children, from potentially dangerous and harmful products.

“The fines imposed therefore need to be significant enough to deter businesses’ non-compliance.”

Further reading: Record fine imposed on One NZ for duping customers

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