Illegal toys found in shops

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A sting on unsafe children’s toys and clothing in Nelson has uncovered some concerning items but the Commerce Commission says, overall, Nelson retailers were “excellent”.

The commission was in Nelson and Marlborough last week for four days checking toys, clothing and cots in “cheap stores” like $2 shops, The Warehouse, K-Mart, and second-hand stores.

Eight items were bought for closer inspection by the commission, which is charged with enforcing toy standards under the Fair Trading Act.

Its competition manager, based in the commission’s Auckland office, John Lyall, says the maximum fine for businesses selling items that breach the standard is $600,000.

He says they were looking for toys that have some parts that could choke a child under the age of three, cots and baby walkers that didn’t comply with the Product Safety Standard, toys with lead paint and clothing without fire labelling.

John says, amongst the items taken from some of the 50 stores they visited were rattles, mobiles and clothing.“We’ll get them tested and then we’ll make some decisions about how we proceed.”

He says there were no breaches found at either The Warehouse or K-Mart, but some of the “$2-type stores” did have items taken.

“Toy safety is a high priority for the commission because of the safety of children, so we do enforce it quite vigorously.”

He says it was the commission’s first trip to Nelson in many years and he was delighted with the response they got from retailers.

“One of the highlights for us down there was the attitude of the store owners. They really wanted to know what it was about and were very welcoming. The people down there, their attitude was excellent. A think it’s a real positive for that province.”

John says they visited every second hand store they could find to see if they were selling noncompliant baby cots. “I was impressed with the second hand dealers, we went to all of the ones we could find and they all said ‘we’re aware of it, we just don’t want to go near stocking cots’.”

He says they also visited used car yards to ensure they complied with the Consumer Information Act. “Pretty much, they all did. There was one instance which I can’t comment on.”