Lime Scooters Breached Australian Consumer Law Over Safety Issues

lime scooters
Image: Getty

The safety of Lime Scooters has been called into question by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The consumer watchdog went after the e-scooter company over safety misrepresentations that left some riders injured.

Lime Scooters safety

The ACCC said on Wednesday that Lime Network Pty Ltd (Lime) failed to disclose a known safety issue with its Generation 2 e-scooters. The ACCC said that the Gen-2 Lime scooters could “apply excessive brake force, or locking, occurring on the front wheel, causing it to stop suddenly.”

This is said to have resulted in serious injuries such as broken bones and damaged teeth, as well as cuts and abrasions.

“Misrepresenting the safety of a product can have very serious consequences,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

“Businesses must disclose known issues so that consumers can take extra precautions if they still choose to use the products.”

“The ACCC also stated that Lime did not comply with mandatory injury reporting requirements at least 50 times. These instances happened both within and outside of Australia.

“If a person has suffered a serious injury, illness or death associated with using their product either in or outside Australia, they must report it under the provisions of the Australian Consumer Law,” Court said.

Lime did not notify the Commonwealth Minister about firmware updates to the Gen-2 scooters. This is a requirement under Australia’s product safety laws. These updates apparently fixed the safety issues and were rolled out between February and March 2019.

“The ACCC considers that Lime was required to give written notice to the Commonwealth Minister within two days of applying each firmware update, because this was effectively action to recall the Gen 2-e-scooters,” Court said.

According to the ACCC, Lime has admitted to breaching Australian Consumer Law reporting obligations.

“Lime has acknowledged its conduct was likely to have contravened the Australian Consumer Law, and has admitted that each time it failed to report a serious injury to the Commonwealth Minister it breached its Australian Consumer Law reporting obligations.”

Lime in Australia

Lime scooters have been available in three states, in a limited capacity, since 2018. This makes sense considering each state’s different e-scooter laws.

The Gen-2 was first trialled at Victoria’s Monash University Clayton campus in November 2018. It was then offered in Brisbane between November 16, 2018 and March 23, 2020. Adelaide also had a trial between February and April 2019.

Gen-3 Lime Scooters have been available in Brisbane since February, 2020.

All Lime Scooters were suspended on March 23, 2020 due to the outbreak of COVID-19. It is unclear if or when they will be available again. If it does recommence, only Gen-3 e-scooters will be offered.

Gizmodo Australia has reached out to Lime for comment.