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ACCC accepts Mercedes-Benz airbag undertaking

Call up: the affected C-Class (left) and E-Class (below) vehicles in question form part of the W204, W207 and W212 model designations.

Mercedes-Benz ‘failed to comply with obligations’ under compulsory Takata recall

26 Feb 2020

MERCEDES-BENZ Australia will at last recall certain C-Class and E-Class vehicles fitted with faulty Takata airbags after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from the luxury carmaker.

 

It is alleged that between June and November 2018, Mercedes-Benz failed to initiate a factory recall of the affected vehicles – certain C-Class models produced between 2008 and 2015 and some E-Class cars built from 2010 to 2017 – as required by the Recall Initiation Schedule.

 

ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said the Commission would continue to take enforcement action where necessary to address non-compliance with the compulsory Takata recall.

 

“Mercedes-Benz failed to comply with its obligations to initiate recalls under the Takata compulsory recall, potentially putting the lives of drivers and passengers at risk, and failed to inform anyone of the delay,” she said.

 

“Industry participants must comply with their responsibilities under the Takata compulsory recall.

 

“Failure to do so may contravene the Australian Consumer Law.”

 

As part of the undertaking, Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific says it will offer loan vehicles or “reasonable alternative transport” to affected customers until their airbags are replaced with airbag modules developed, certified and installed in-house as to avoid further possible recalls in the future.

 

The company issued a media release stating that “extensive global demand” for the new airbags had caused delays and the subsequent recall breach, adding that the affected vehicles were not fitted with the deadly ‘alpha’ or ‘critical’ Takata units.

 

“Customers can continue to drive their vehicles while waiting for a replacement airbag to become available however, when they receive a recall letter, they should contact their nearest authorised retailer as soon as possible to book their vehicle in for the airbag to be replaced,” said the media release.

 

“If customers prefer not to drive their vehicle while waiting for the recall to be performed, alternative transport can be arranged for eligible customers.”

 

The official recall notice is expected to be issued by both the ACCC and Mercedes-Benz Australia by June 30 with the latter also publicly committing to have all replacement works done by the December 31 deadline.

 

“We are pleased that Mercedes-Benz is addressing our concerns and assisting drivers who cannot drive their affected cars by offering them hire cars,” Ms Rickard said.

 

According to the ACCC, the brand “has also agreed to ensure it notifies the ACCC early of any future anticipated failure to initiate recalls, ensure its recall database correctly reflects the recall status, and keep records of consumer complaints relating to the recall”.


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