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Black & Decker pays penalty for failing to report defective products

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced a financial settlement with a company that failed to notify the CPSC that certain models of its weed trimmer/edgers were unsafe, even after it received reports of consumer injuries.

Black & Decker of Towson, MD has agreed to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $960,000 in connection with CPSC charges that the company failed to report the product safety defect immediately, as required under federal law. According to the CPSC, the company knew for at least a year before notifying the agency that its electric Grasshog Model XP trimmer/edger was defective and could cause harm to consumers.

Further, the CPSC alleges that Black & Decker failed to provide full information about the defective product when requested to do so by the CPSC in May 2006. As a result of information received from the company, the CPSC closed their investigation, only to reopen it in October 2006 when Black & Decker informed them of a growing number of incidents and consumer injuries.

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Ultimately, Black & Decker announced a recall of more than 200,000 trimmer/edgers in July 2007, following reports that the product’s spool, spool cap and pieces of trimmer string could come loose during use. The company received more than 700 reports of incidents related to the product defect, including 58 injuries to consumers. The trimmer/edgers were sold from November 2005 through the spring of 2007 for about $70.

Federal law requires that manufacturers, distributors and retailers immediately (i.e., within 24 hours) report to the CPSC information that a product contains a defect which could create a substantial product hazard, or pose a risk of injury or death to consumers.

In agreeing to the civil penalty, Black & Decker has denied CPSC allegations that it knowingly violated the law.



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