Mercedes-Benz failed to initiate a recall of some vehicles with faulty Takata airbags

The ACCC has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific Pty Ltd (Mercedes-Benz), after Mercedes-Benz acknowledged it had failed to initiate a recall of certain C class and E class vehicles with faulty Takata airbags, due to spare parts availability, in accordance with the timeframe required under the Takata compulsory recall.

The ACCC alleges that, between June and November 2018, Mercedes-Benz failed to initiate vehicle recalls for all affected vehicles fitted with faulty Takata airbags, despite being required to under its Recall Initiation Schedule.

The ACCC was concerned that this may have contravened the Australian Consumer Law and exposed consumers driving the vehicles to serious safety hazards. The cars are fitted with dangerous Takata airbags and many of the vehicles affected should have been prioritised for urgent replacement due to their age, exposure to heat and humidity, or location of the airbag inflator.

In the undertaking accepted by the ACCC, Mercedes-Benz has acknowledged the ACCC’s concerns.

“Mercedes-Benz failed to comply with its obligations to initiate recalls under the Takata compulsory recall, potentially putting the lives of drivers and passengers at risk, and failed to inform anyone of the delay,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“Industry participants must comply with their responsibilities under the Takata compulsory recall. Failure to do so may contravene the Australian Consumer Law.”

“We will continue to take enforcement action where necessary to address non-compliance with the Takata compulsory recall.”

Mercedes-Benz has committed to follow a revised schedule to get affected cars off the road as soon as practicable and in the meantime, will provide free hire cars or alternative transport for owners of the highest risk vehicles.

“We are pleased that Mercedes-Benz is addressing our concerns and assisting drivers who cannot drive their affected cars by offering them hire cars,” Ms Rickard said.

Mercedes-Benz has also agreed to ensure it notifies the ACCC early of any future anticipated failure to initiate recalls, ensure its recall database correctly reflects the recall status, and keep records of consumer complaints relating to the recall.

Mercedes-Benz will also communicate directly with affected consumers so they are aware of the recall status of their vehicle, and their options for airbag replacement or alternative transport.

The undertaking is available at: Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific Pty Ltd.

Notes to editors:

Mercedes-Benz is the importer and wholesaler for a range of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars.

As part of the undertaking, Mercedes will offer a hire car or alternative transport for affected consumers if it is unable to replace the airbag within two weeks from the date requested by a consumer (for reasons other than the consumer not making the vehicle available for repair).

This applies to Mercedes-Benz C Class or E Class vehicles affected by the compulsory recall that are:

  • older than 6 years and located in Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia and parts of the coastal area of New South Wales north of Newcastle; or
  • older than 9 years and located elsewhere in Australia.

In January 2020 the ACCC announced that three corporations had paid penalties for allegedly selling or advertising vehicles under active recall.

More information about the Takata recall is available on the Product Safety Australia website.

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