Compulsory product recalls

A compulsory product recall is what can happen if you don't take satisfactory action to voluntarily recall an unsafe product.

When a compulsory recall is required

If businesses don't take satisfactory action to mitigate the risks posed by unsafe goods, the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs — on advice from Trading Standards — can issue a compulsory recall order under section 32 of the Fair Trading Act 1986.

Fair Trading Act 1986 — Section 32(external link)

The Minister can order a compulsory product recall where:

  • the goods:
    • are likely to cause injury to any person, or
    • don't comply with a prescribed product safety standard, or
    • are subject to an unsafe goods notice, and
  • the supplier has not recalled the goods or taken satisfactory action to recall the goods.

The Minister can order businesses to do any or all of the following:

  • recall the goods
  • publish specified information to the public — and how this must be done
  • provide a specified remedy, and
  • complete the required actions by a specified date.

Costs of a compulsory recall

All of the costs involved with complying with a compulsory product recall are borne by the business or businesses specified in the order. Compulsory recalls will also attract negative publicity for the business(es), product and brand involved.

What happens if I don't comply?

If you don't comply with a compulsory product recall order — or continue to supply the recalled goods —you are breaching the Fair Trading Act and could be prosecuted and fined up to $600,000.