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ACCC Acts Against Dirt Works over Surly Steamrollers

ACCC logo The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released the following press release on October 8, 2009 [my emphasises]:

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has accepted court enforceable undertakings from Dirt Works Australia Pty Limited after it acknowledged supplying bicycles that did not comply with the mandatory standard for pedal bicycles.

Between April 2007 and April 2008 Dirt Works, a wholesaler of bicycles, supplied to retailers 115 Surly Steamroller bicycles which did not have a back brake and also, in some instances, did not have reflectors and a bell – all breaches of the standard.

Dirt Works also supplied those bicycles and a further 190 Surly Steamroller bicycles between May 2008 and June 2009 with a manual which did not comply with the standard. Also, the packaging of the bicycles did not have printed on it certain information and a warning regarding their assembly, as required by the standard.

The ACCC was concerned that by supplying the bicycles Dirt Works had engaged in conduct in contravention of section 65C of the Trade Practices Act 1974. This section prohibits a corporation in trade or commerce from supplying certain bicycles that do not comply with the mandatory standard.

In response, Dirt Works wrote to its retail customers to whom it supplied the bicycles advising them of the bicycles’ failure to comply with the standard and requesting that they cease selling stock until they complied with the standard.

Dirt Works has provided court enforceable undertakings not to supply any Surly Steamroller bicycles unless they comply with the mandatory standard and to implement a trade practices law compliance program.

Dirt Works has also provided court enforceable undertakings which are designed to have consumers who purchased the bicycles:

  • made aware that their bicycles failed to comply with the standard
  • provided with the opportunity to have their bicycles fitted with a back brake, reflectors and a bell free of charge if they were not supplied with any of those items when they purchased their bicycle, and
  • supplied with a manual which complies with the standard.

Dirt Works Logo “The bicycles supplied by Dirt Works were fixed-gear bicycles,” ACCC deputy chairman, Peter Kell, said today. “Fixed-gear bicycles only have one gear and do not have the ability to coast. Fixed-gear bicycles are used for competition track cycling in a velodrome and are not fitted with brakes when used for this purpose. However, there has been a growing trend in people riding fixed-gear bicycles on the road.”

“Suppliers need to be aware that where fixed-gear bicycles are not designed, promoted and supplied primarily for use in competition, as was the case with the Surly Steamroller bicycles supplied by Dirt Works, they must comply with the mandatory standard for bicycles.”

8 Responses to ACCC Acts Against Dirt Works over Surly Steamrollers

  1. Greg October 9, 2009 at 1:35 AM #

    Thanks Andrew. Interesting post. As you know I recently purchased a bicycle from an Eastern States bike company. It arrived with no rear reflector and no bell. I wasn’t really expecting it to arrive in a condition which complies with Western Australian road rules. I know the law and it is up to me to make sure the bike I am riding complies with the law. I will not be lodging a complaint about the seller because I don’t see that fitting a bell and reflector is a big deal.

    In the case of a fixed gear bicycle, I am not sure what the purpose of a rear brake is. It is more work to fit a rear brake to make a bike comply with the standard. If I had purchased a fixed gear bike with no rear brake I would not be asking for one to be fitted. In this case I think the mandatory standard is out of date with current trends in bicycles.

  2. Greg October 9, 2009 at 10:35 AM #

    Thanks Andrew. Interesting post. As you know I recently purchased a bicycle from an Eastern States bike company. It arrived with no rear reflector and no bell. I wasn’t really expecting it to arrive in a condition which complies with Western Australian road rules. I know the law and it is up to me to make sure the bike I am riding complies with the law. I will not be lodging a complaint about the seller because I don’t see that fitting a bell and reflector is a big deal.

    In the case of a fixed gear bicycle, I am not sure what the purpose of a rear brake is. It is more work to fit a rear brake to make a bike comply with the standard. If I had purchased a fixed gear bike with no rear brake I would not be asking for one to be fitted. In this case I think the mandatory standard is out of date with current trends in bicycles.

  3. William Seville October 9, 2009 at 4:59 AM #

    “In this case I think the mandatory standard is out of date with current trends in bicycles.”

    In this case the current trends are out of touch with physics.

  4. William Seville October 9, 2009 at 1:59 PM #

    “In this case I think the mandatory standard is out of date with current trends in bicycles.”

    In this case the current trends are out of touch with physics.

  5. Conrad Drake October 9, 2009 at 5:00 AM #

    “In this case I think the mandatory standard is out of date with current trends in bicycles.”

    In this case the current trends are out of touch with physics.

    (OTOH the WA regs are a little over the top)

  6. Conrad Drake October 9, 2009 at 2:00 PM #

    “In this case I think the mandatory standard is out of date with current trends in bicycles.”

    In this case the current trends are out of touch with physics.

    (OTOH the WA regs are a little over the top)

  7. Aushiker October 9, 2009 at 5:08 AM #

    Hi Greg

    Thanks for your comments. One aspect to keep in mind is that bikes such as the Surly Steamroller can be configured as a single-speed and hence a brake is needed. Whether it needs to be a rear brake is a matter for discussion for sure.

    All that said, the bike should be sold in accordance with the standards which is the point the ACCC is making. If the standards need changing the way Dirt Works has gone about it is not the right way. Instead they should be lobbying for changes.

    Regards
    Andrew

  8. Aushiker October 9, 2009 at 2:08 PM #

    Hi Greg

    Thanks for your comments. One aspect to keep in mind is that bikes such as the Surly Steamroller can be configured as a single-speed and hence a brake is needed. Whether it needs to be a rear brake is a matter for discussion for sure.

    All that said, the bike should be sold in accordance with the standards which is the point the ACCC is making. If the standards need changing the way Dirt Works has gone about it is not the right way. Instead they should be lobbying for changes.

    Regards
    Andrew

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