By Gurbir Singh:
Toy importer and retailer, 2 Boys Trading Limited (2 Boys) has been fined $74,250 on 13 toy safety-related charges under the Fair Trading Act 1986, after a Commerce Commission investigation.
‘2 Boys’ imports toys and sells them via eight retail outlets branded as “Lotsa Goodies” which are owned by companies linked to the 2 Boys owners. The shops are in Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch.
‘2 Boys’ sold approximately 1,700 units of three toys, all of which failed to pass testing undertaken by the Commission. Small parts came free from the toys during testing, and those parts were small enough to be a choking hazard for young children. In addition, some toys fitted fully inside a testing template, meaning they were also a choking hazard.
In sentencing on 20 June in the Manukau District Court, 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.”
The toys to which the charges relate are: Aquatic toy set containing six squeezy toys, supplied between October 2015 and March 2018; Baby Star baby rattles supplied between May 2012 and November 2016, and 5.5 inch soft plastic doll, supplied between May and December 2017.
The baby rattle packaging 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 noted 2 Boys “did not conduct any of its own checks apart from generally checking the product was as ordered and relied on guidelines which stated the toys were for use for children aged 3 and over.”
Commerce Commission Chair Anna Rawlings said “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.”
All toys which were the subject of the charges were removed from sale by 2 Boys and recalled.