11 April 2018
An apology - from our family to yours.
This week Thermomix in Australia has reached agreement with the ACCC on jointly proposed concessions and penalties in proceedings brought against us by the ACCC. The Court approved the concessions and penalty on Wednesday 11 April, 2018.
These related to aspects of our response to managing complex issues over the past few years, including misleading customers by not informing them of a potential safety risk during a three-month period in 2014.
Firstly, we want to say how much we regret what happened, are very sorry about it and apologise to those who were affected.
In Australia, Thermomix is not a big corporation. We’re a mother-and-daughter business sincerely dedicated to good food, family and nutrition. We saw the potential of this wonderful appliance to help improve the lives of everyone who owns it. So, we started a company to import them from Europe. Our small business soon grew into kind of a family of its own. With hundreds of thousands of Australians sharing a love of food and the basic human joys it brings to family and friends.
Admitted contraventions that Thermomix in Australia has agreed to with the ACCC
The TM31 was the subject of a recall in 2014. The recall did not involve the return of the TM31s. The recall involved a replacement green sealing ring and operating instructions for the continued use of the TM31.
Thermomix in Australia has admitted its conduct in the period between July 2014 and 2016 was misleading in three ways. First, for the customers who bought a TM31 in a three-month period in 2014 (7 July 2014 to 23 September 2014), the company promoted and sold products to them without telling customers of a potential safety risk until 23 September 2014 which then resulted in the recall.
Second, a media statement issued and published widely in March 2016 about this recall and about the TM31was misleading.
Third, Thermomix in Australia also misled four customers about their refund rights under the Australian Consumer Law. Further, one of these customers was asked to sign a confidentiality agreement as a condition of her refund in circumstances where she was entitled, as of right, to a refund to under the Australian Consumer Law.
Thermomix in Australia was also late in filing 14 mandatory reports of a serious injury caused by the use, or foreseeable misuse, of a TM31, and required to be filed under the Australian Consumer Law.
Our focus has been to bring this to a close and do the right thing by our affected customers
Thermomix in Australia and the ACCC have jointly agreed a proposed penalty of $4.608 million. This is a heavy fine but we accept this penalty.
We have also agreed to create in-depth compliance and education training much of which has already begun from our own learnings.
Saying sorry is important but we are very disappointed by our misleading conduct during that time, and want to make amends. As such, we want to do much more than the ACCC and Thermomix in Australia proposed penalty fine.
At our own initiative we’d like to offer to give a new Thermomix TM5 model to each and every one of the 9,443 customers who bought a TM31 model between 7 July 2014 and 23 September 2014.
This is the timeframe agreed with the ACCC when we misled customers by not informing them about a potential safety risk.
The TM5 is the current Thermomix model available and sells for $2,089. We will be contacting those customers directly and you can view all the details here.
We’d also like to share our learnings from this experience with other fast-growing entrepreneurial companies who might benefit from what we have been through. We’ve created a downloadable guide on the learnings we’ve gained on managing complex issues and it will be available on this website in a few weeks time.
Finally, we want to say thankyou to the Thermomix community
As a family owned company, we want to express our heartfelt thanks to our staff, our 2,500 consultants, our 400,000 Thermomix owners and many others for their on-going support. We’re enormously proud of our wonderful product and look forward to it continuing to help improve the lives of our customers and their families.