To paraphrase Kate McCartney from The Katering Show, the Thermomix is a futuristic saucepan presumably spawned in a gangbang of different cooking appliances. It also has a tendency to explode without warning on its owners, causing horrific second-degree burns.
Following a mass incident report by consumer advocacy group CHOICE, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is launching an official investigation. This means you might finally be able to get that refund on your overpriced kitchen doodad.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched a probe into Thermomix following several incidents in which people allegedly suffered severe burns due to a faulty sealing ring. The flaw, which affects the Thermomix TM31 model and potentially the TM5, can cause lids to unexpectedly pop open and spray hot liquid during operation.
The original CHOICE investigation was launched after two Australian women suffered second-degree burns when their machines exploded at high speed. During its mass incident report, 85 additional complaints were collated from people who said the Thermomix had malfunctioned and sprayed hot liquid on them.
CHOICE's mass safety incident report is now in the hands on the national regulator which is launching a full investigation.
"The ACCC received data from CHOICE in relation to its mass incident report in May 2016, which has formed part of broader material being considered as part of the ACCC's investigation," the agency said in a statement.
"In deciding which compliance or enforcement tool (or the combination of such tools) to use, the ACCC’s first priority is always to achieve the best possible outcome for the community and to manage risk proportionately."
This would be a serious matter in its own right, but the ACCC is also investigating claims that burnt Themomix owners were asked to sign confidentiality agreements in private settlements. In other words, they were paid compensation on the priviso that they kept their mouths shut. According to CHOICE, the company also requires customers to sign non-disclosure agreements before it will agree to refund faulty products.
For its part, Vorwerk, which owns the Thermomix brand, has urged customers to replace the sealing ring on the Thermomix TM31 every two years. However, CHOICE said some people were still burned after the seal was replaced. Apparently, more than 300,000 Australians own the device which runs for a recommended retail price of $2000.
If you own the TM31 model, the risk of scalding is apparently increased when running on speed "four" or above and then switching to the ‘lid-open’ position. We'll keep you posted with more news as it happens.