Thousands of unsafe seatbelts are being recalled after issues were found with Business Venture Ltd (BVL) branded products last year, with Trading Standards releasing a crash test video showing one failing.
Trading Standards is aiming to raise awareness, reminding consumers to check for BVL seatbelts and immediately recall them.
There are about 16,000 belts thought to be in vehicles in New Zealand, and Trading Standards has been working since November last year to locate consumers who may have purchased one or more of them.
It is understood BVL seatbelts may have been onsold by various auto parts stores throughout New Zealand at any time since 2008.
They may have been used as replacements for damaged original seatbelts or used by modifiers who added seats and seatbelts to vehicles.
"We are urgently reminding consumers who own second hand vehicles or who have had replacement seatbelts fitted, to check their seatbelt labels for these brands," Trading Standards Team Leader Safety and Technical Martin Rushton said in a statement today.
If the label shows the BVL logo and/or manufacturers name Changzhou BWD or Jiang Su Jiu Jiu, people are advised to immediately contact BVL to have them replaced.
Businesses who onsell products are also advised to keep a clear paper trail of their sales, so in the unlikely event of a serious product recall, they are better able to identify and notify affected customers.
In the meantime, the NZ Transport Agency has instructed vehicle inspectors to fail a vehicle for its Warrant of Fitness (WoF) or Certificate of Fitness (CoF) inspection if the seatbelts imported by BVL are identified in a vehicle.
However, Transport Agency’s Regulatory General Manager, Kane Patena, said vehicle owners should check the labels for peace of mind, rather than wait for a WoF or CoF check.
"This is an important safety issue," he said. "While the Transport Agency is not currently aware of any failures involving BVL imported seatbelts in New Zealand or overseas, the independent testing of the seatbelts we commissioned indicated that although the belts are labelled as compliant with a European regulation, they are not compliant and do not meet minimum strength requirements."
Trading Standards will be assessing the recall progress with BVL and the next stages of action needed.
All New Zealand product recalls can be found at recalls.govt.nz.