Toy importer and retailer 2 Boys Trading has been slapped with a $75,000 fine relating to 13 charges under the Fair Trading Act after it sold unsafe toys over a seven-year period.
2 Boys Trading, which operates shopping mall retailer Lotsa Toys, sold three types of toys between May 2012 and March 2018 including baby rattles, a small plastic doll and bath-play toy set which breached manadatory safety standards.
The company sold approximately 1700 units of the unsafe product which failed to pass testing to meet a mandatory standard by the Commerce Commission.
The commission found small parts of the toy came free during testing and the parts were small enough to be a choking hazard for young children. In addition to this, some toys were found to fit entirely into a testing template, meaning they were too small for children they were designed for.
2 Boys Trading was sentenced in the Manukau District Court last week and received 13 toy safety-related charges.
Judge Chris Field said the court needed to "send a clear message to other companies trading in this way that significant penalties can be imposed for breaches of this kind".
This is the 15th product safety prosecution taken by the Commerce Commission since the start of 2017, most of which were the result of unannounced inspections of retailers by the commission.
Commerce Commission chair Anna Rawlings said retailers were required to comply with mandatory toy standards which protect small children against serious harm.
"Toy importers and retailers must take note of the criminal convictions and fines repeatedly handed down by the courts They reflect the importance of compliance with laws that are there to protect small children against serious physical harm," Rawlings said.
"If you supply toys you must be aware of and act on your legal obligations. The Commission has extensive resources for traders in this area, including videos which explain the obligations of those selling toys that may appeal to children aged under 3. If you have any doubts about the toys you sell you should not supply them."
The unsafe baby rattle was labelled "3+" and "not suitable for children under 3 years". The aquatic toy set was labelled "Warning: Choking Hazard – Small parts, Not for children under 3 years" and the same wording was on the rear of the doll packaging.
In sentencing, Judge Field said 2 Boys Trading did not conduct its own checks on the safety of the product.
"The labelling is a notable feature of this case. It attempts to suggest the toys are not suitable for children under 3 years of age. These are clearly toys intended for children 36 months of age and under, and traders cannot avoid their legal obligations by including '3+' labelling or similar," Rawlings said.
All three toy products were recalled and removed from sale by Lotsa Goodies.
The Herald has contacted Lotsa Goodies for comment.