Novelty Toy Suppliers and Operators Fined for Button Battery Safety Non-Compliance, Hazardous for Children

Australia, Finance

Article: The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued substantial fines to Novelty toy supplier MDI International Pty Ltd (MDI) and the owner and operator of Timezone, Kingpin, and Zone Bowling, TEEG Australia Pty Ltd (TEEG) for alleged safety standard breaches.

MDI and TEEG have each paid $49,500 in penalties after the ACCC issued them with three infringement notices related to the supply of novelty toy products containing button batteries: the World’s Smallest Alarm Clock, the Pocket Fart Gun, and the Sonic Spinner.

These products were available to be redeemed as prizes by consumers at TEEG venues, including Timezone, using points accumulated through games played at the venues.

The ACCC alleged that the companies failed to adequately test the products prior to supply, thus contravening the button had battery safety standard.

Between July 2022 and June 2023, MDI supplied TEEG with approximately 10,000 units of the products without completing all required testing prior to supply.

TEEG then on-supplied approximately 5,000 of the products to consumers.

ACCC Acting Chair Catriona Lowe stated, “Button batteries are incredibly dangerous for young children, and tragically, in some cases, have led to serious injuries or death when swallowed, inserted, or ingested.

Both companies have since taken steps to improve compliance and ensure that products are tested according to the button battery safety standard.

The ACCC encourages consumers to report product safety incidents, report incidents to the ACCC at the Product Safety Australia website, and check the list of recalled products.

It also urges the public to keep button batteries out of Clever’s reach and secure them to avoid accidents.

MDI is a Queensland-based wholesale distributor of gifts, toys, novelty products, and homewares, while TEEG owns and operates 84 family entertainment centers in Australia, including Kingpin, Timezone, and Zone Bowling.