US electric car maker Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) has paid a fine after the Australian consumer watchdog accused it of breaching mandatory safety standards.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) revealed Thursday that the US$824 billion giant's local arm, Tesla Motors Australia Pty Ltd, was penalised $155,460 in response to 10 infringement notices.
The alleged violations related to three models of Tesla's key fobs and two models of its illuminated door sills.
The ACCC accuses the car company of not conducting safety tests and putting on safety warnings that are mandatory for products that include button batteries.
Button battery safety and information standards came into effect in Australia in June last year, in a world-first measure.
Australia leading the world in button battery safety
The danger is that children have died in the past from button battery accidents.
ACCC deputy chair Catriona Lowe warned that the mandatory testing and labelling requirements are there for a reason.
"Any failure to test these products before they are sold poses an unacceptable risk to children," she said.
"We expect all companies, large and small, to comply with the mandatory button battery standards to ensure children are protected from the dangers of button batteries."
In total, Tesla was found to have sold 952 items that allegedly breached the safety standards.
The five models involved are:
- Model 3/Y key fobs
- Model X key fobs
- Model S key fobs
- Model 3 illuminated door sills
- Model S illuminated door sills
Since the ACCC's investigation, Tesla removed the items from sale and tested them.
While the Model 3/Y and Model X key fobs have been retrospectively cleared, the other items are still undergoing testing.
Some of the affected key fobs are shaped like a car, which made it even more alluring for children to play with.
"Key fobs are often in easy reach and can be attractive to children, so if the battery compartment is not secure and the batteries become accessible, they pose a very real danger to children," said Lowe.
Tesla shares are up a whopping 143% so far this year.