Bud­get chain fined over safety la­bels

Weekend Herald - - FRAN O’SULLIVAN -

A low- cost re­tailer found guilty of sell­ing thou­sands of toys and py­ja­mas with­out ap­pro­pri­ate safety la­belling has been fined $ 337,000.

The chain 123 Mart was found guilty in the Auck­land Dis­trict Court in July of 17 charges un­der the Fair Trad­ing Act for not ad­her­ing to com­pul­sory safety stan­dards for chil­dren’s toys and sleep­wear.

The firm sold ap­prox­i­mately 9000 units of seven dif­fer­ent types of toys with small parts that pre­sented chok­ing haz­ards for young chil­dren, as well as thou­sands of units of cloth­ing with­out ad­e­quate la­belling.

Hand­ing down the $ 337,000 fine yes­ter­day, Judge Rob Ron­ayne said 123 Mart had twice been warned by the Com­merce Com­mis­sion to clean up its act. But they had failed to do so, and even cov­ered up their con­tin­ued of­fend­ing.

“It’s par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant where ba­bies and chil­dren are con­cerned the prod­uct safety stan­dards are com­plied with,” Judge Ron­ayne said.

No chil­dren are thought to have been harmed by 123 Mart’s prod­ucts.

With around 60 re­tail stores through­out New Zealand, 123 Mart op­er­ate un­der the names The 123 Mart, Dol­lar Store 123, King Dol­lar Store and Max! Out.

The Com­merce Com­mis­sion said it in­ves­ti­gated the re­tailer three times and laid charges af­ter 123 Mart was warned in 2013.

The com­pany went into liq­ui­da­tion in Septem­ber, mak­ing the pay­ment of their fine un­likely, but Judge Ron­ayne felt that was im­ma­te­rial.

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