The ACCC has cracked down on the compliance of e-scooter safety standards following a court-enforceable undertaking with rental company, Lime, and its failure to report user injuries.
The regulator asserts Lime failed to comply with mandatory injury reporting requirements on at least 50 occasions (in Australian and overseas) for injuries stemmed from its Gen 2 e-scooters.
The ACCC claims Lime did not disclose an issue it was aware of, and misrepresented the safety of its Gen 2 e-scooters.
Lime has acknowledged its conduct likely contravened Australian Consumer Law, including failing to report a serious injury to the Commonwealth Minister.
The company suspended its e-scoooter operations in Australia in March, following government-mandated public health measures from the coronavirus pandemic.
“Misrepresenting the safety of a product can have very serious consequences,” states ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court.
“Businesses must disclose known issues so that consumers can take extra precautions if they still choose to use the products.”
The ACCC alleges in some circumstances Lime’s Gen 2 e-scooters would apply excessive brake force, or suddenly stop.
“Serious injuries suffered by consumers as a result included broken bones, damaged teeth, cuts and abrasions,” reads the consumer watchdog’s media release.
The ACCC states Lime also failed to notify the Commonwealth Minister about firmware updates applied to its Gen 2 e-scooters in February and March 2019, which specifically fixed the safety issue as required by product safety laws.
“The ACCC considers that Lime was required to give written notice to the Commonwealth Minister within two days of applying each firmware update, because this was effectively action to recall the Gen 2-e-scooters,” adds Ms Court.
“Notifying the Government of such incidents, and action taken to specifically address a product safety hazard is a vital part of our product safety regime.”
Should Lime recommence Australian operations, the company has pledged to supply only Gen 3 or later models of e-scooters for hire, and address any safety issues or defects alongside a comprehensive safety program.