ACCC takes Thermomix to court … Australian company boards could miss gender diversity target … Australia slips in global innovation ranking



By Dominic Powell and Emma Koehn.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched action in the Federal Court against kitchen appliance manufacturer Thermomix over allegations the company breached Australian Consumer Law.

The ACCC claims the company misled consumers about their guarantee rights and also failed to properly report injuries caused by the appliances. Additionally, the ACCC alleges Thermomix made false and misleading statements about the recall of its product in 2014.

The consumer watchdog alleges Thermomix forced consumers to sign non-disclosure agreements when seeking returns refunds for the product, which prevented customers from making negative comments about the product.

“Consumers who have purchased a faulty product have rights under the Australian Consumer Law to remedies which businesses cannot restrict, alter, or remove, and this includes getting a repair or replacement for the product, or a refund,” ACCC acting chair Delia Rickard said in a statement.

The ACCC also alleges on fourteen occasions, Thermomix failed to notify the it within the required two-day period after customers suffered serious injuries due to use of the appliance.

“The law requires that suppliers must act to notify the ACCC as soon as they become aware of any person who has suffered a serious injury associated with the goods they have supplied. This requirement exists to protect the safety of Australian consumers by helping to prevent further injuries,” Rickard said.

SmartCompany has contacted Thermomix for comment.

Australia off track on gender diversity targets

The Australian Institute of Company Directors warns Australia may not reach its target to have women make up 30% of company boards by 2018.

In its most recent report on the state of play for gender diversity in Australian business, AICD figures suggest the number of women being appointed to ASX boards each month has dropped from 44% of appointments in 2016 to 30% in 2017.

Thirteen ASX companies still have no women on their boards.

AICD chief executive Elizabeth Proust observed while there was no shortage of supply, there were concerns on the demand for female board members.

Australia slips on global innovation rankings

Australia has dropped four places to number 23 on the Global Innovation Index, the annual rankings compiled each year by Cornell University and the United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organisation.

Coming in at number 19 last year, the drop in the nation’s ranking is attributed to a lower score than last year for “output” from the nation’s startup industry. Australia continued to score well in the education sector, ranking 7th in university rankings, and 3rd in tertiary enrollment.

At the top of the list are Switzerland and Sweden, followed by the Netherlands, the US, and the UK. Australia was beaten by China at number 22, and came out just ahead of the Czech Republic, at number 24.

The full ranking of innovative companies can be seen on the Global Innovation Index website.

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