The Australian competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is investigating the hardware franchise Masters. It is alleged that some consumers were asked to sign away certain rights of redress in return for having faulty cabling removed.

Lu Luo of Cables. Photo:

Lu Luo of Cables. Photo:

Infinity Cables, the company at the centre of the dispute, is also under investigation. The ACCC are probing the legality of quality tests done on the wiring prior to sale.

Lu Luo CEO of the Sydney-based Infinity Cable co. sold approximately 4000 kilometres of cable between 2010 and 2013. Ms. Luo is defending a criminal charge in the NSW Supreme Court. She says she attempted to have the wiring tested in Australia, but was unable to do so, as the only testing company available was “moving from Adelaide to Melbourne.”

Instead, she opted to have the cables tested by the “Guandong Testing Institute of Product Quality Supervision. Ms Luo says the cable was passed by the institute and she submitted the results to NSW Fair Trading.

Ms Luo says she received a reply email stating “interfering acceptance of the test report.” It continued – there was “no impediment to continued selling.”

However the wiring was faulty. Fair Trading received numerous complaints and ordered further tests.

When the cable failed Australian-standard tests the Queensland Office of Fair Trading ordered the product be recalled. One estimate suggested up to 40,000 homes across Australia are at risk of fire because of the wiring.

However a NSW Fair Trading spokeswoman has been reported as saying the cable “does not need to be tested and approved before it is put on the market.”

The recall is expected to cost around $80 million. Woolworths (owners of Masters Hardware) will front at least $35 million of that.

Masters has issued a deed of release preventing anyone speaking publicly about the incident in conjunction with their franchise – or face the possibility of legal action.

Ms Luo is defending the charges against her. The ACCC is very eager to read the Fair Trading email responding to Ms Luo’s Chinese quality submission report.

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