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Episode 12 - Recalling Safety and the Consumer Law (ACCC v Mercedes)

It is important to recall that safety is essential and in this 12th episode of Keeping Up with the Consumer Law, the two Joels work their way through the 2022 case of ACCC v Mercedes-Benz.

Following several incidents of serious injuries and deaths, in 2018 a mandatory recall commenced in connection with Takata manufactured airbags. Airbags had been installed in approximately 3 million vehicles in Australia (and more than 100 million globally). In certain instances, on deployment, the airbags would cause metal and plastic shrapnel to explode out of the airbag. The recall applied to two types of airbag, Alpha and Beta airbags. Both airbags were deemed to pose a risk of death or injury, but the Alpha airbags posed a significantly higher safety risk.

Following the commencement of the mandatory recall program, Mercedes-Benz began recalling vehicles in accordance with a communication and engagement plan approved by the ACCC. In 2021, the ACCC commenced a proceeding in the Federal Court of Australia alleging that customer service staff had departed from the communication and engagement plan by using language that minimised the risks associated with the airbags. Mercedes-Benz admitted contravening provisions of the Australian Consumer Law associated with the recall and the Federal Court imposed a $12.5m penalty in 2022.

This is the twelfth episode of Keeping Up with the Consumer Law. Keeping Up with the Consumer Law is financially supported by the Law Foundation of South Australia.

Want to learn more about this case? There is a long litigation history to this case, check out some of the details here:

o Mercedes to pay $12.5m for failing to comply with Takata recall communications plan, ACCC Media Release (2 September 2022)

o ACCC alleged Mercedes-Benz minimised risk of defective Takata airbags during compulsory recall, ACCC Media Release (4 August 2021)

Get in touch with Grieger and Lisk at ⁠⁠, where you can also find out more about our up-and-coming multi-level marketing program.

Keeping Up with the Consumer Law is intended to be for educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Does this episode raise any questions for you about how you can use the ACL or what your obligations are under the ACL? We recommend seeing a lawyer, head over to ⁠⁠ for more information.

Keeping Up with the Consumer Law is recorded and produced on Kaurna Country.



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