Kitchen appliance giant Thermomix was fined Aus$4.6 million (US$3.5 million) in Australia Wednesday for breaching consumer laws after users of its mixers were burned by hot liquids due to a faulty seal.
Action was taken against the German company’s Australian distributer by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) after complaints flooded in about injuries caused by its TM31 model, which retails for around Aus$2,000.
The ACCC claimed Thermomix made false or misleading representations to the public by staying silent about the safety issue, despite knowing about it.
It notified consumers in late September 2014 about the problem following several reported cases of users being burned after the lid lifted and hot food and/or liquid escaped from the mixing bowl.
But the company was aware there was a fault in July that year, the Federal Court heard in handing down the penalty.
“By failing to act swiftly and alert consumers about the potential safety hazard with the TM31 appliance, Thermomix misled a number of consumers and placed their safety at risk,” ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said.
Consumer group CHOICE said 45 people reported being injured due to the defect, with 18 needing medical attention. Eight burns victims took part in the court case.
ACCC said Thermomix cooperated in its investigation.
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