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Fishpond fined $50k for selling illegal goods

An Auckland website company has been fined $50,000 in the Manukau District Court for selling devices that are not compatible with radio frequencies or electricity regulations in New Zealand, creating potential safety risks.

Fishpond Limited runs a website through which it claims to have 16 million products available for sale, including books, toys, electronics kitchen and beauty products largely sourced from overseas.

Members of the Radio Spectrum Management team at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) noticed two particular items for sale on the Fishpond site and purchased them for test purposes. One was the Garmin DC50 dog tracking device that was found to be unsuitable for use with New Zealand’s radio spectrum management.

“This item had the potential to cause interference with other licensed services creating issues with people’s safety,” says Fadia Mudafar, Compliance Officer, Radio Spectrum Management, MBIE.

“Radiotelephone services are used by people in transport, forestry and logging operations and breaks in the signal would result in poor communications with a risk for misunderstanding. Any interference is a significant safety risk,” Ms Mudafar says.

Ms Mudafar says the other device was a Wireless Digital Audio Transmitter and Receiver Sender

“It operated on a radio band that is assigned exclusively for aeronautical use in New Zealand and was also electrically unsafe as the plug didn’t comply with New Zealand’s relevant safety standards, creating potential risks to the public.”

Fishpond has received five previous warnings since 2011 for advertising radio communications equipment for sale that does not comply with New Zealand law. The company has also previously been charged on two occasions since 2013 by other government entities for breaches of New Zealand’s regulatory framework.

“MBIE actively pursues offenders and can prosecute people under the Radiocommunications Act 1989 and the Radiocommunications Regulations 2001 for supplying or using the illegal equipment,” says Ms Mudafar.