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Reminder on dangers of portable butane cookers 

12 March 2015

NSW Fair Trading is reminding consumers to be aware of the dangers of using portable butane gas cookers, following a public warning issued last week (3 March).

Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said both single and some models of dual burner lunchbox cookers could no longer be sold in Australia following the suspension of their compliance certificates.

“The product certificates were suspended by the independent certifiers, as test results showed the cookers’ shut-off valves, known as overpressure devices, do not operate as intended and are non-compliant with the Australian Standard,” Mr Stowe said.

“Certifiers have now confirmed that the suspension of some models relates to single burner and dual burner cookers.”

Each State and Territory in Australia requires gas appliances to be certified as safe in accordance with Australian standards. The effect of the cancellation of the certificates is national.

In NSW, Fair Trading is the gas safety regulator as well as the consumer protection regulator. Traders and consumers outside NSW should check with the gas safety authority in their home State or Territory if they have further questions about what action is being taken locally to make traders and consumers aware of this issue.

“The certifying bodies, appliance distributors and retailers are responsible for ensuring that unapproved items are not distributed and that any appliances already on shelves are removed from sale,” Mr Stowe added.

“Fair Trading is continuing to work with retailers, manufacturers and other states to ensure affected products are removed from sale.”

Mr Stowe said customers should avoid using their existing lunchbox type portable gas cookers wherever possible.

“The existing models of these cookers do pose a risk to safety, as they have been found to overheat and in some cases explode,” he said.

“The portable cookers are cheap, usually retailing for around $15 to $20, are widely distributed and are a common product, particularly for camping and caravanning.

“A recall has not been imposed in NSW as our experience has been that with low-cost goods many consumers will not follow the recall. Instead, it is more effective to make sure the goods are withdrawn from sale and advice is provided to consumers to stop using and dispose of the goods.

“While they have not been recalled, under the consumer guarantee provisions of the Australian Consumer Law consumers are entitled to obtain a refund if they can show proof of purchase and can return the cookers in good condition, particularly for cookers bought recently.

“I’d encourage consumers to notify NSW Fair Trading if they see any devices of this type being sold within stores or by NSW retailers.”

A full updated list of affected model numbers is available on the NSW Fair Trading website, www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au or by phoning the Call Centre on 13 32 20.

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