Buckyball Refunds Now Available Through BuckyballsRecall.com.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently announced that refund requests for those who have purchased Buckyballs or Buckycubes are now available online at BuckyballsRecall.com. The creation of the website is part of the resolution of the settlement between the CPSC and Craig Zucker, former CEO of the now-dissolved Maxfield and Oberton Holdings LLC.
The settlement (and preceding lawsuit) centered around the small magnetic toys known as Buckyballs—tiny, spherical rare-earth magnets sold in clusters as a sculpture toy. The magnets proved dangerous when two or more were swallowed, their small size and high magnetic strength making it possible for them to badly pinch or puncture intestinal tracts. Because of this danger, the magnets were the target of a multi-year lawsuit between the CPSC and Maxfield and Oberton Holdings LLC, the company that sold the magnets in the U.S.
During the suit, however, Maxfield and Oberton Holdings dissolved, ceasing to exist as a company. In an unprecedented move, the CPSC then decided to press charges against Zucker, aiming to make him responsible for recall-related damages in the company's stead. Whether this was actually legally possible was never decided, since the CPSC and Zucker settled out of court.
Part of their settlement required a trust to be setup, in order to fund recall payments to those who had purchased the company's magnets. The trust was also used to build the recall website, BuckyballsRecall.com, where online claims for recall can be filed. The website will be available until January 17, 2015. Refunds will not exceed the purchase price of the product. Partial refunds are possible, depending on how many magnets are returned. Said the CPSC:
"From 2009 to the present, CPSC staff has received numerous incident reports of ingestions involving Buckyballs and Buckycubes, many of which required surgery. This recall is intended to protect children and teenagers from the risk of injury that can occur when more than one magnet is ingested."
Related story: CPSC Recalls 25,000 Retail Magnets