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GRC Professional : GRC Summer 2013
13 products" a nd had engaged independent testing agencies to test all children's sleepwear. "We take the safety of our products very seriously and want to reassure our customers that we have taken all the necessary steps to resolve this issue," it said. "Cotton On Group works with va rious children's charities around the world, many of which focus on the healthcare and education of children. We are committed to [their] welfare ... in both product safety and our charitable causes.'' But ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard disagreed on the aspect of child safety. "These breaches were very serious as they placed the safety of young children at risk," she said. "The nightwear was so flammable that it should not have been supplied in Australia at all." Compounding the situation, she said, wa s the labelling of the highly flammable nightwear as 'low fire danger'. Justice Tracey did not let Cotton On's past safety breaches or failure to comply with standards or take remedial action go unnoticed either. As his judgment outlines: • In August 2007, the ACCC raised concerns with Cotton On Clothing about sunglasses it offered for sale, which did not comply with the relevant safety standard. The company provided an undertaking to the ACCC then that it would implement procedures to ensure that all sunglasses and any other stock in its retail stores complied with applicable standards and were labelled accordingly. It also undertook to implement a trade practices compliance program to ensure employees were aware of those responsibilities a nd obligations. • In August 2008, the ACCC investigated Cotton On's labelling of boots as "lambskin" when they were m ade from wholly synthetic materials. No fine was involved in this instance. Cotton On did agree, though, to a series of undertakings, including correction notices, full refunds to buyers and the implementation of a trade practices compliance program. The program was to focus on sections 52 and 53 of the Trade Practices Act 1974, which covers engaging in conduct that is misleading or X
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GRC Autumn 2013