Discount retailer Dimmeys Stores Pty Ltd, Starite Distributors Pty Ltd and the companies’ director, Douglas Edward Zappelli, have been ordered to pay $3.72 million for product safety breaches.
The Federal Court of Australia also disqualified Mr Zappelli from being a company director for six years, and restrained Dimmeys from selling any product subject to a product safety standard for the same period.
Dimmeys Stores Pty Ltd must pay $3 million, Starite Distributors Pty Ltd $600,000, and Mr Zappelli $120,000.
They must place advertisements about the court’s decision in newspapers across Victoria and New South Wales, on their website and in all their stores. The court also ordered the destruction of all seized products at Dimmeys' expense.
Consumer Affairs Victoria issued proceedings in late 2012 after inspectors removed more than 18,000 items of girls’ padded swimwear, baby bath squeeze toy sets, cosmetics sets and basketball rings from Dimmeys stores in Victoria and New South Wales.
The girls' padded swimwear did not meet labelling requirements under flotation aid safety standards, the squeeze toys posed a choking hazard, the cosmetics sets did not label ingredients as prescribed by the Cosmetics Information Standard, and the basketball rings did not include warnings required under the Basketball Rings Standard.
Dimmeys was the subject of four previous court proceedings taken by ACL regulators for product safety breaches.
This is the first case Consumer Affairs Victoria has taken in the Federal Court, which upheld the regulator’s right to bring this action in July 2013 when it was challenged by Dimmeys, Starite and Mr Zappelli.
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