New Zealand online retailer fined NZ$54K over unsafe bikes

Online retailer Container Door Limited has been fined NZD$54,000 for supplying unsafe pedal bicycles, following a Commerce Commission investigation.

Container Door earlier pleaded guilty to two representative charges under the Fair Trading Act 1986 for supplying bikes that did not meet the mandatory product safety standard for pedal bicycles.

Between 1 April and 23 November 2017, Container Door supplied 15 Huffy Cruiser bicycles that did not have a front brake installed and which were sold without required information:

  • they were not marked with the manufacturer, importer or supplier’s details
  • the packaging did not include a warning recommending that the bicycle be assembled by a skilled mechanic.

In sentencing in the Auckland District Court on 20 January, Judge David Sharp said it was “highly careless” offending and that “cyclists are vulnerable. To supply bicycles that do not comply with safety standards is something I regard as serious.”

He noted that Container Door was co-operative with the Commission and did everything that could reasonably be asked in relation to recalling the bicycles.

Container Door sought a discharge without conviction but Judge Sharp declined to enter it, saying the consequences of a conviction were not out of all proportion to the gravity of the offending.

For the Commission, General Manager Competition and Consumer Branch Antonia Horrocks said “Container Door was supplying bikes that put riders, pedestrians and road users at risk of serious harm because there was no front brake. This impeded a rider’s ability to stop and control their bike. It is important for traders to know their legal obligations and to operate compliance programmes to ensure they comply with the law.”

Container Door recalled the bikes after being contacted by the Commission. Ten were returned, three customers wished to keep their bike and one did not respond. One other bike was supplied to Container Door’s owner.

Consumers who purchased one of the affected bicycles should contact Container Door.