New Zealand Law Society - Torpedo7 fined $80,000 for selling bikes with no front brakes

Torpedo7 fined $80,000 for selling bikes with no front brakes

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Sports goods retailer Torpedo7 Ltd (trading as has been fined $80,000 on two charges under the Fair Trading Act 1986, relating to its supply of bicycles without front brakes and some required information.

The Commerce Commission says pedal bicycles are covered by a mandatory product safety standard enforced by the Commission. The standard requires that certain bicycles must have front and rear brakes, and must be supplied along with specified safety information.

Between 4 October and 17 November 2017, Torpedo7 advertised and offered on its website to supply 100 Hang-Ten Cruiser bicycles and subsequently supplied 53 bicycles.

None of the bicycles had a front brake installed, as required by the standard. In addition, they did not comply with the standard because:

  • they were not marked with the manufacturer, importer or supplier’s details
  • the owner’s manual did not provide all required torque settings and advice on use of a torque wrench
  • the manual did not include warnings regarding increased braking distance in the wet, replacement of handle bar grips and the rake of any replacement fork.

The Commission reports that, in sentencing in the Hamilton District Court, Judge Roberts said Torpedo7’s conduct was “highly culpable and a deterrent sentence is required”.  He said that “larger commercial entities should be applying resources to the development of a robust compliance regime”.

“The fact that no harm actually registered misses the point. The bikes were an accident waiting to happen. The latent risk was always there,” he said.

The Commission’s General Manager Competition and Consumer Branch Antonia Horrocks said: “Working front brakes are essential to ensure cyclist, pedestrian and other road user safety, and the information requirements help keep riders and road users safe. Traders who supply bicycles must know their legal obligations and they must have compliance programmes in place to ensure they are meeting those obligations.”

Torpedo7 recalled the bicycles after being contacted by the Commission.

Torpedo7 is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Warehouse Group Limited. It operates 16 stores and online and the daily deal website.

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