Broken bones, damaged teeth, and cuts are just some of the injuries sustained by riders of Lime e-scooters, after the company failed to warn users of a safety fault it knew about.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from Lime Network but imposed no fine, despite Lime Network breaching Australian Consumer Law at least 50 times for not reporting the accidents to the Commonwealth Minister.
Lime provides dockless e-scooter rentals in Brisbane, Adelaide and Victoria.
“Lime’s Gen 2 e-scooters would apply excessive brake force, or locking, occurring on the front wheel, causing it to stop suddenly,” a statement from the ACCC said.
This would happen when users rode downhill at top speed or hit an obstacle, such as a pothole.
“Lime misrepresented to consumers that its Gen 2 e-scooters were safe to use when in fact it did not disclose to consumers a safety issue it was aware of.
“Businesses must disclose known issues so that consumers can take extra precautions if they still choose to use the products.”
The ACCC also reminded businesses that under Australian Consumer Law, businesses must report any injury, illness or death caused by consumers using their product to the Commonwealth Minister.
Are we good now?
Between February and March 2019, Lime applied a firmware update to correct the problem with the scooters but again failed to notify the Commonwealth Minister.
“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,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.
“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.”
Lime suspended its Australian operations once the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in Australia in March 2020.
It has undertaken to supply only Gen 3 scooters if it resumes business here, which feature a different design including both an electronic brake on the rear wheel and mechanical drum brake on the front.
In February 2019, Lime confirmed it was investigating an issue after numerous reports of injuries in Brisbane.
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