ACCC Takes Action Against Thermomix to Federal Court Over NDA Demands

Following a number of injuries and consumer issues, the ACCC is taking Thermomix to the Federal Court.

Post a 2014 recall, the $2,000 appliance is reported to be responsible for multiple injuries. Subsequently, customers have revealed that Thermomix demanded they sign NDAs before issuing refunds.

The ACCC’s case hinges on Thermomix misleading consumers by making them feel that the TM31 machines were safe to use. The ACCC alleges the company gave customers a false sense of safety and security. Further, they’re also claiming that customers who were injured and burnt were forced to sign non disclosure agreements.

What is the alleged claim? 

The machines are reported to explode. The result? Sending volumes of high temperature liquids out at force with risks of severe burns to the user. Despite consumers reporting both explosion and burn incidents, it is alleged that Thermomix did not report these injuries. It is believed there could be as many as 14 cases unreported cases. Under Australian Consumer law companies have two days to notify the ACCC of customer injuries due to faulty products.

What happened in 2014? 

In 2014, Thermomix notified customers that the TM31 model appliance was being recalled due to a safety issue. The communication was via Facebook and email and stated the machines required a sealing ring replacement. Instead of immediately issuing refunds or supplying fixes for the faulty product, the ACCC alleges that Thermomix refused to rectify claims unless customers signed non disclosure agreements.

According to the consumer lobby group Choice, Thermomix’s faulty machine is responsible for at least 45 injuries. Choice polled Thermomix consumers to find out how many of them new about the voluntary recall. Of the people who replied (just over 3,100), only 23% new that the machine needed a ring replacement to work properly.

What the ACCC say 

Acting chair of the ACCC Delia Rickard said, “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.”

This is exactly what the ACCC’s case alleges. Several customers who suffered burns and sought replacement or refund have reported that they were forced into signing gag orders. This then restricted their ability to speak ill of the company, disparage them or in any way negatively comment about Thermomix publicly. This type of NDA is not allowed under the law, and the ACCC is currently seeking to hold Thermomix responsible for their actions.

If you own a model TM31 model appliance please ensure you have had the fault corrected by upgrading your sealing ring as requested.

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Erica Loop is a mum, parenting writer and educator with an MS in child development. Along with writing for websites such as PBS Parents, care.com, Scary Mommy, mom.me, Modern Mom, education.com and others, she also is the creator of a kids' activities and art blog.

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