ACCC confirms Thermomix investigation
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has confirmed it’s launched an investigation into Thermomix, following revelations the kitchen appliance had led to a number of consumers suffering serious burns.
In Australia’s first mass incident report, consumer advocacy group, Choice, presented the ACCC with 87 cases of Thermomix faults, 18 of which required the user to seek medical care.
In May, Choice called on the regulator to issue a safety warning to consumers and investigate the reports further.
A number of Thermomix users have suffered burns caused by the failure of the TM31 model – specifically its sealing ring, which was recalled in 2014 due to the possibility that users could be scalded if the device was switched to the lid-open position at high speed. Choice alleges that one consumer required treatment by a hospital burns unit at least a year before the product was listed on the national recalls website.
Choice launched a campaign to shed light on any safety issues relating to Thermomix devices after it was revealed the company was asking consumers to sign non-disclosure agreements and gag orders before granting burn victims their refund rights.
It asked the ACCC to investigate what complaints Thermomix Australia received prior to the 2014 recall and whether the fix proposed, which included new green sealing rings, adequately addressed the problems.
“Since the recall, consumers using green sealing rings have still been harmed. Four of the serious burns cases documented in the mass incident report were from people already using the green sealing ring. Others have noticed ongoing problems,” Choice head of media, Tom Godfrey said.
According to SMH, ACCC has been investigating the case since March this year.
"The ACCC has a range of options it can pursue if it considers a business has contravened the ACL [Australian Consumer Law],” the ACCC said in a statement to Fairfax Media.
"In deciding which compliance or enforcement tool (or the combination of such tools) to use, the ACCC's first priority is always to achieve the best possible outcome for the community and to manage risk proportionately.
"We note the public interest in these matters, and will be seeking to reach a considered view as soon as possible."