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Australia: Mercedes Benz failed to initiate recall of some vehicles with Takata airbags

Christian Fernsby |
The ACCC has accepted a court enforceable undertaking from Mercedes Benz Australia Pacific, after Mercedes Benz acknowledged it had failed to initiate a recall of certain C class and E class vehicles with faulty Takata airbags, due to spare parts availability, in accordance with the timeframe required under the Takata compulsory recall.

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The ACCC alleges that, between June and November 2018, Mercedes Benz failed to initiate vehicle recalls for all affected vehicles fitted with faulty Takata airbags, despite being required to under its Recall Initiation Schedule.

The ACCC was concerned that this may have contravened the Australian Consumer Law and exposed consumers driving the vehicles to serious safety hazards. The cars are fitted with dangerous Takata airbags and many of the vehicles affected should have been prioritised for urgent replacement due to their age, exposure to heat and humidity, or location of the airbag inflator.

Mercedes Benz has committed to follow a revised schedule to get affected cars off the road as soon as practicable and in the meantime, will provide free hire cars or alternative transport for owners of the highest risk vehicles.

Mercedes Benz 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.

Mercedes Benz will also communicate directly with affected consumers so they are aware of the recall status of their vehicle, and their options for airbag replacement or alternative transport.

As part of the undertaking, Mercedes will offer a hire car or alternative transport for affected consumers if it is unable to replace the airbag within two weeks from the date requested by a consumer for reasons other than the consumer not making the vehicle available for repair.

This applies to Mercedes Benz C Class or E Class vehicles affected by the compulsory recall that are: older than 6 years and located in Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia and parts of the coastal area of New South Wales north of Newcastle; or older than 9 years and located elsewhere in Australia.

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