Defectives products are being sold on Amazon by third party vendors and the current Amazon policy is to decline any responsibility for defective merchandise sold by these vendors. Defective products sold on Amazon have lead to serious injuries and deaths. A man who bought a motorcycle helmet that was out of compliance with federal safety standards died after the helmet came off in an accident. Amazon settled the case for $5,000 and refused to accept any responsibility.
In another case, a third party seller sold a defective hover board to a family in Nashville. The defective hover board caught fire and the house burned down while two children jumped out of the window to escape death. In court papers it was proven that Amazon knew that the product was defective but didn’t prevent the third party vendor from selling it. An appeals court ruled that under state product liability law Amazon was not the seller but allowed the plaintiff’s claim of negligence against Amazon to go to trial.
Recent decision indicates Amazon could be held liable for defective products sold by third party vendors
In April 2016, Polaris recalled a potentially defective recreational off-highway vehicle so it could be repaired. The model recalled was the Polaris RZR. The company recalled it after they received more than 160 complaints that some of the RZR models caught fire as consumers were driving. A 15 year old passenger died and 19 people reported injuries such as first, second and third degree burns.
Last December Polaris and the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that after the repair consumers continued to report fires. These fires have caused death, serious injury and property damage. Additionally new models launched by the company in 2017 have also experienced fires.
If you, a friend or a family member owns a Polaris RZR, please stop using it and contact Polaris at 800-POLARIS or 800-765-2747 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. CT Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Saturday and Sunday or online at www.polaris.com
A potentially defective tabletop swivel stand sold with a 55-inch flat screen TV was recently recalled by Panasonic. The Panasonic 55-inch, LED/LCD flat screen televisions with a tabletop swivel stand is a model that was sold to schools, government buildings and hotels from July 2012 through March 2014 . The mounting screws that connect the stand to the TV can become loose and the TV can unexpectedly fall off the stand. This pose a risk of severe injury or even deaths to children.
If you see one these TVs on a swivel stand at your child’s school, at work or in a hotel please inquire if it was recalled and repaired. If it wasn’t please make sure that the TV is detached from the stand and placed in a safe location before calling Panasonic for a free repair kit.
Panasonic indicates that so far nobody was injured. 755 models have been sold in the US and 130 in Canada. The TV is black with Panasonic printed in the front and the swivel stand is in a glossy black color and is 50 inches long. The model number for the television is TH055LRU50. It can be found on a tag on the back of the television.
Despite the many fire accidents and injuries caused by defective lithium-ion battery packs in hoverboards, the toy remains among the most popular holiday gifts. If you or your kids own a self balancing scooter or if you are planning to buy one as a gift you should visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission website and check on the recent Self Balancing Scooter recalls. Here are some of the most recently recalled models:
- The Layz Board hoverboard was recently the subject of a second warning by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. According to the agency this hoverboard caused a fire on October 23, 2017, in Manchester Township, Pennsylvania, which destroyed one town home and damaged four others. The hoverboard was the object of a previous warning in May 2017 after two young girls died in a house fire caused by the Layz Board hoverboard on March 10, 2017, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Salvage World just recalled 700 Smart Balance Wheel self-balancing Scooters/Hoverboards. The battery can overheat and pose a risk of smoking, exploding or catching fire
Takata just recalled an additional 2.7 million vehicles that may have a defective airbag. The recalls affect Ford Mazda and Nissan models from 2005 to 2012 that have a PSDI-5 PSAN airbag inflator. These types of airbags are only installed on the driver side. The PSDI-5 PSAN airbag inflators are a different type of airbag than the type of airbags recalled in the past by Takata.
The PSDI-5 PSAN airbag inflator is a desiccated inflator. Desiccated inflators contain calcium sulfate the purpose of which is to prevent the ammonium nitrate inside the airbag to deteriorate in case of humidity or high temperature. The ammonium nitrate is the most important component of the airbag. It inflates the airbag in case of an accident. If the ammonium nitrate deteriorates, the airbag may not inflate proprely and may explode causing potential injury or death to the car driver and the passengers.
In its report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Takata indicates that the PSDI-5 PSAN airbag inflator posed a potential risk to the car occupants. When testing the inflator, Takata found that the amonium nitrate used to inflate the airbag was showing signs of deterioration and could lead to a breakage over time. However Takata also indicates that so far in all the testing conducted none of the inflators tested broke off.
Some of the Graco My Ride 65 convertible car seats may be defective and may not restrain a child in a car crash. Improper restraint of a child significantly increases the risk of severe injury or death of a child in a car accident. Improper restraint is one of the most common causes of pediatric fatality in motor vehicle accidents in the US (see more info in our other blog published Today).
In previous tests of the Graco My Ride 65 car seat, the National Highway traffic Safety Administration found that in some cases the harness webbing restraining the child wasn’t resistant enough ant that it could break in the case of a serious car crash. After internal investigation, the manufacturer Graco concluded that the defective harness webbing were associated with a single batch of sewn webbing and that an estimated 10% of the recalled seats were defective.
The recall affects model numbers 1871689, 1908152, 1813074, 1872691, 1853478, 1877535, 1813015, and 1794334. Only units manufactured on 7/22/2014 and that have a webbing code 2014/06 on a tag on the harness webbing are affected.
A defective child product was recalled Today by Target. If you recently bought the Magnetic Tic Tac Toe Game you should be aware that this game set is defective and extremely dangerous for your children. The magnets can detach from the game pieces and pose a chocking hazard. Additionally if a child swallows more that one magnet, the magnet can attach together and create serious injuries such as intestinal obstructions, perforations, sepsis and death.
If you owned this game (see picture) stop using it immediately and contact Target for a refund.
Read more on the CPSC website
A 3 year old girl died from her injury after a hoverboard explosion caused a major fire in her apartment in Harrisburg, PA, last Friday night. The hoverboard battery was charging at the time of the explosion. The girl fell from the second story of her home as she was trying to escape the blaze that was ravaging her apartment. Her two sisters suffered critical burn injuries and her dad as well as a teenage boy who was in the house at the time of the accident, were treated for smoke inhalation. Dennis Voe, a 21 year old firefighter who was en route to the fire was struck by a car and died from his injury as well.
It is the first time that a hoverboard explosion is directly linked to a fatality. The accident prompted a federal investigation. Previously the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) investigated multiple cases of burn injuries related to defective hoverboards. So far investigations have led to the recall of approximately half a million hoverboards with defective battery packs. At least 8 models manufactured in China with defective lithium battery packs were part of the defective models recalled. Despite the many fires and injuries caused by exploding hoverboards many families still buy them and use them.
If you or your children own one of them, you can check the list of the hoverboards recalled by CPSC. However, please remember that owning a hoverboard that is not on the list is not a guarantee that the battery may not be prone to fire hazard. Do not charge your hoverboard at night when you sleep but during the day in a location where you can keep an eye on it and where there is an extinguisher nearby.
When a company discovers that one of its products is defective, the potentially harmful product must be recalled and consumers must be warned about the products hazards. Companies that fail to timely do so may be subject to multi-million-dollars civil lawsuits by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
In the past the CPSC had a weak reputation but since Elliot Kaye took over as Chairman, the Commission became much stricter. While in 2009 the total amount of penalties imposed by the CPSC didn’t even reach $10 million, the total penalties for last year was $26.4 million. So far this year, this amount reached $31.25 million. The lowest amount of 2009 is also related to the fact that up to 2008, CPSC penalties were capped at $8000 per violation. In 2008, after several children died after ingesting lead tinted toys the Congress decided to increase the cap to $100,000. The Congress also increased the aggregate limit of $1.825 million for a series of related offenses to $15 million. Nominated by president Obama, Kaye was hoping to increase penalties even further.
Companies have often considered potential civil penalties related to defective products as a “cost of doing business”. This is exactly what Elliot Kaye has been fighting. During his tenure at the head of the CPSC, several companies including Johnson Health Tech, Philips Lighting, Teavana, Jarden Consumer Solutions and Gree Electric Appliances had to pay multi-million-dollars settlements for failing to timely report product hazards.