GAP-operator Brand Republic slapped with $51,000 ACCC fine after mislabelling baby clothes

Retailer Busby Holdings’ subsidiary Brand Republic has paid a $51,000 fine to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and has been forced to recall or refund stock.

The regulator found labels attached to 519 pieces of babies’ sleepwear sold between July 2011 and May 2013 were mislabelled.

Tags saying “low fire danger” were sewn into the side of the clothes; the rules state they should be in the back of the collar. In some of the garments the tags were obscured when in the packaging.

Brand Republic operates GAP stores in Melbourne and Sydney. The offending garments were sold under the Baby Gap label.

Other garments did not show their size on the tags in contravention of section 106 of the Australian Consumer Law.

Brand Republic has agreed to advertise a recall for all stock before October 30, and refund or replace the clothing.

The ACCC has warned retailers it will enforce consumer laws, especially where child safety is an issue. Deputy chair Delia Rickard told SmartCompany retailers should comply with safety standards.

“Was it the most serious, no it wasn’t,” she said. “It’s about awareness, and it’s important that companies do comply with safety standards.”

She pointed to a more serious penalty dished out to clothing brand Cotton On, which was fined $1 million for selling children’s nightwear that breached fire standards in 2012.

Brand Republic declined to comment.

Oroton Group is in talks with Gap Inc. about taking over the franchise from Busby Holdings, and expanding to New Zealand, some Pacific islands and other locations in Australia.


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