The ACCC has instituted Federal Court proceedings against Decathlon (Australia) Pty Ltd (Decathlon) for allegedly selling sports and recreation goods that did not comply with the applicable product safety standards, in breach of the Australian Consumer Law.
The ACCC alleges that between October 2016 and December 2019, Decathlon offered 14 models of basketball rings and backboards and five models of portable swimming pools for sale that failed to carry the safety labelling, consumer warnings or installation and use instructions required under applicable product safety standards.
In that period, Decathlon sold more than 400 basketball rings and backboards, and nearly 300 portable pools online or at its physical stores. The pools included small inflatable and non-inflatable pools, which were intended for use by small children.
“Safety standards exist to protect consumers when using certain products. It is essential that businesses comply with safety warning and labelling requirements to protect consumers from the risk of serious injury or even death from the use of these products,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
The ACCC alleges that warnings such as “improper installation or swinging on the ring may cause serious injury or death” were missing from many basketball products.
The ACCC also alleges Decathlon made a false or misleading representation that some of the basketball rings and backboards were safe to attach to brickwork, when that was not the case.
In addition, Decathlon allegedly supplied 66 portable swimming pools which were 30 centimetres deep without required warnings including “children have drowned in portable swimming pools”, “ensure active adult supervision at all times” and “pool fencing laws apply to this pool”.
“We are very concerned that consumers were allegedly not warned about the potential dangers of these products and could have been seriously hurt when they used the pools or basketball hoops,” Ms Rickard said.
“Products which do not comply with safety standards cannot be legally sold in Australia.”
The ACCC is seeking penalties, costs and other orders.
Decathlon is an online store which also operates five stores in Melbourne and Sydney. It is fully owned by its ultimate holding entity, Decathlon S.A. in France which has more than 1,500 stores across more than 55 countries and recorded global sales figures of AU$17.7 billion (€11 billion) in 2017.
In December 2019, Decathlon recalled 51 different products, including all Decathlon basketball rings and backboards, basketball systems, and the portable swimming pools products which are the subject of these proceedings.
Portable swimming pools pose a drowning hazard to children and must comply with the Consumer Goods (Portable Swimming Pools) Safety Standard.
In 2018/19, 19 children aged 0-4 years drowned in Australia, nearly two thirds of them in swimming pools. Many more children are hospitalised each year after a drowning incident in a portable swimming pool.
Basketball rings and backboards have to comply with the Consumer Goods (Basketball Rings and Backboards) Safety Standard. This standard is designed to reduce the risk of death and serious injury resulting from the improper installation and use.
Since 2012, one person died due to improper installation of a basketball ring and backboard on a garage which similarly collapsed when the user performed a ‘slam dunk’.
Examples of products affected below:
Nabaiji brand, inflatable circular pool 152/37cm, orange
Tarmak brand, B200 New Easy Space Blue, children’s basketball ring and backboard
Example of warning required for some basketball hoops and backboards below:
The attached document below contains the ACCC’s initiating court document in relation to this matter. We will not be uploading further documents in the event this initial document is subsequently amended.