After a line of mini pistol crossbows was pulled from sale on Trade Me and then reinstated last week, the Commerce Commission has advised that the toys are illegal. It says that these products are likely to be covered by an existing unsafe goods notice and can’t be sold in New Zealand.
Pistol crossbows without safety catches on the firing mechanism were declared unsafe goods under the Fair Trading Act in 1989. This means it’s an offence to supply, offer to supply, advertise to supply or import pistol crossbows without safety catches.
The Commerce Commission advises anybody currently selling these items in New Zealand to immediately remove them from sale, and says anyone who has purchased one of these crossbows from a New Zealand trader should return it to the trader for a refund.
Palm-sized pistol crossbows designed to shoot toothpicks are a burgeoning toy craze in China, although it’s banned in some parts of the country due to their potential for harm.
The Otago Daily Times reported last week that Waiheke Island-based Thomas Ladbrook began selling the toys on Trade Me after spotting an opportunity to “make a little bit of extra money” off the back of this trend.
Trade Me removed his listing, saying it contravened the site’s ban on weapons, but reinstated it on June 26. Trade Me head of trust and safety Jon Duffy told the Otago Daily Times that sometimes Trade Me needed time to consider if a new product met its rules.
"The listings we removed were listed responsibly in our 'hunting and shooting' category with clear instructions that they'e R18.
"We'll be monitoring listings of mini crossbows to ensure that they meet this standard and are listed responsibly. Our main concern is to ensure that these listings are not marketed to children and we will not allow them to be sold in any of our children's categories, including toys.”
The Commerce Commission says that when it contacted Trade Me, the company immediately took action to remove the listings. No further listings for toothpick crossbows are on Trade Me.
An ecommerce company based out of Brisbane, Australia, called ‘Minicross’, currently appears to sell toothpick crossbows into New Zealand. Its website says these toys have passed safety tests in Australia but it’s not clear whether they are covered by the Commerce Commission’s unsafe goods notice. The vendor has been approached for comment.
There are currently seven other unsafe goods notices in place.
Pistol Crossbows (permanent)
• Candles and Candlewicks (permanent)
• Hot Water Bottles
• Lead in Children’s Toys (permanent)
• Chainsaws Without a Chain Brake (permanent)
• Small High Powered Magnets (permanent)
• Multipurpose Ladders (permanent)