The Commerce Commission has urged consumers and tradespeople to exercise caution when using two models of ‘Transforma’ multi-purpose ladder, sold nationwide by Brand Developers Limited between 2007 and March 2013.
The Commission is investigating potential breaches of the Fair Trading Act involving claims made about the load rating of Transforma TR24 and TR33(35) ladders and their compliance with compulsory safety standards.
The Commission understands that approximately 16,000 of these multi-purpose ladders have been sold, mainly through TV infomercials and trade suppliers.
The Commission’s Competition Manager, Greg Allan, said that while the Commission had so far only tested one of each model of ladder, both ladders had failed the independent safety test and the test failures were of sufficient concern for the Commission to warn people to take care in using them.
The ladders were tested against the AS/NZS 1892.1:1996 Portable ladders Standard.
In testing, the TR33(35) model buckled under the maximum advertised 180kg load.
The TR24 model failed two tests.
• Under the standard the ladder is allowed to ‘sag’ by 5.2mm when the rated weight is put on it. The TR24 sagged 20mm.
• The TR24 was also tested for ‘walking’ – which measures the movement of the ladder’s feet when the ladder is moved from side to side. The maximum allowable movement for these ladders is 79mm under the safety standard. The tested ladder walked 130mm on average.
“There is the potential for someone to be badly hurt if they expect the ladder to carry the advertised maximum load or if the ladder moves significantly,” Mr Allan said.
He said that because the ladders were advertised as able to hold more than 120kg they were classed as industrial strength and therefore more likely to be used by tradespeople.
Mr Allan stressed that further testing was being undertaken by the Commission.
“We will be testing more ladders to see if this is a systemic failure and will let consumers know the outcome of testing as soon as possible. In the meantime, we urge people to exercise the utmost care when using these ladders,” he said.
Brand Developers Limited is working with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to contact customers who have purchased the ladders.
An Unsafe Goods Notice issued by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in November 2012 bans the sale of multi-purpose ladders that do not meet the AS/NZS 1892.1:1996 Portable Ladders standard. The Commerce Commission is the enforcer of Unsafe Goods Notices and has followed up with retailers of the ladders to ensure they are complying with the Notice.