For Violating CPSA, Electrolux Agrees to Pay $750,000 Civil Penalty
Electrolux Home Products Inc., Charlotte, North Carolina-based maker of various home appliances, has settled a civil lawsuit the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) brought against it, claiming the company knowingly violated the potential hazard reporting requirement within the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA).
The CPSC maintains the manufacturer, then based in Augusta, Ga., failed to report a safety hazard that consisted of gas build-ups that could escape and ignite when the broiler was in use in certain Kennmore wall ovens—7,800 of which Electrolux imported and distributed to stores like Sears and others.
Aside from the monetary penalty, Electrolux also agreed to establish a compliance program with internal record keeping and monitoring systems to track information about product safety hazards. Electrolux must provide written documentation of its improvements to the CPSC, according to court documents.
“Manufacturers and distributors of consumer products are required to report product defects and hazards to the Consumer Product Safety Commission immediately and there are penalties for those who fail to do so,” Stuart F. Delery, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said in a statement. “We will continue to work with our partners at the CPSC to ensure that they can act promptly to protect consumers from injuries.”
The complaint alleged Electrolux was aware of 22 consumer reports between February 2006 and November 2007 that alleged flames were shooting out of the oven when the broiler was on, causing consumer injuries ranging from singed hair to facial burns. Electrolux failed to report these even though it's sister company, Frigidaire Canada, having identified the defect in January 2005, had implanted a design change by March 2006. Electrolux recalled the product in 2008.
“CPSC will vigorously enforce the immediate reporting requirement found in the Consumer Product Safety Act,” CPSC Acting Chairman Bob Adler, whose term expires in October, but was renominated to a second term last week, according to The National Law Review, said in a statement. “The federal reporting rules are aimed at protecting the safety of the American public. Delay in reporting of product defects and hazards by manufacturers, distributors or retailers can result in civil penalties and other measures designed to ensure consumer safety.”
Even with the settlement, Electrolux has not admitted to have violated the CPSA knowingly.
For more information, visit www.cpsc.gov.