CPSC, Black & Decker Settle Toaster Lawsuit; Improve Recall Remedy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Originally issued April 23, 1998, Revised January 29, 2008
Release # 98-097
Company Phone Number: (800) 746-2159
CPSC Consumer Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: Ken Giles, (301) 504-7052
Black & Decker Contact: Suzanne Jones, (203) 926-3447

Note: The company's telephone number and hours of operation have changed.

CPSC, Black & Decker Settle Toaster Lawsuit; Improve Recall Remedy

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and The Black & Decker Corp. announced today the resolution of CPSC's administrative Complaint against Black & Decker and an improved nationwide recall of the Spacemaker Optima Model T1000 Type 1 Horizontal Toasters. In its Complaint, CPSC alleged that Black & Decker's unilateral recall announcement of October 27, 1997, did not go far enough in notifying the public of the recall or the potential fire hazard associated with the toasters, and the consumer remedy was not adequate. In its Answer, Black & Decker denied the allegations contained in the administrative Complaint. After the Complaint and Answer were filed, CPSC and Black & Decker began working cooperatively to modify and improve Black & Decker's original recall program.

Black & Decker is improving its recall by offering consumers their choice of a free Spacemaker Optima Toaster or other selected replacement product instead of a coupon toward the purchase of a product. Consumers who have already contacted Black & Decker about the toaster recall and used a coupon to purchase another product will now be able to select from a list of replacement Black & Decker products, also for free. Extensive measures are underway to get word of the risk and new remedy to consumers.

The toasters are being recalled because they can allow food to catch on fire, and when the toaster door automatically opens and the food rack extends beyond the door, flames from the food can escape the unit and expose kitchen cabinets and their contents to the fire. When the unilateral recall was first announced, the firm reported 242 incidents. Now Black & Decker has received 1,066 food fire complaints involving these toasters; 656 of these involved property damage ranging from kitchen cabinet damage to one kitchen fire. Eight burn injuries have been reported.

Of approximately 234,000 toasters sold, to date only about 19,000 consumers have participated in the unilateral recall announced last October.

The Black & Decker Spacemaker Optima T1000 Type 1 Horizontal Toasters were sold through retail stores nationwide from 1994 through 1996 for about $50 to $64. Consumers can easily identify these recalled toasters because they are the only Spacemaker Optima Toasters that have an "OPEN" button. This "OPEN" button is located on the right side of the control panel. The words "Black & Decker...Spacemaker...Horizontal Toaster...Optima" appear on the toaster door. "MODEL NO. T1000 TY1" is stamped on the back of the toaster. Date codes 405 through 504 appear on the outer prong of the plug blade.

Consumers should stop using these toasters immediately, and contact Black & Decker at (800) 746-2159 between 8 am to 5 pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

Black & Decker is expanding its efforts to notify consumers by mailing letters directly to consumers, purchasing advertising, providing retailers with new safety notices for in-store displays and posting recall information on its web site. Black & Decker is issuing this press release to media outlets nationwide and broadcasting video by satellite so that local television stations can report on this recall announcement by showing the product and the potential fire hazard.

To ensure that the improved recall runs smoothly, Black & Decker also has set up and staffed a special toll-free hotline for consumers to call to participate in this recall.

CPSC believes that for a recall to be effective, people need to know about it and be moved to act on it. CPSC asks companies to use appropriate resources to make sure the public is aware of the hazard associated with a recalled product. With this program, CPSC believes that Black & Decker is now being more aggressive in its attempt to obtain an effective recall. CPSC and Black & Decker, by this modified and improved recall program announced today, strive to ensure that the public is well aware of the risk associated with the toaster. They urge consumers to act quickly and call Black & Decker to participate in the improved recall.