Between April 1999 and September 2001, Sears received about 1,600 reports of fuel leakage and fuel tank cracking with certain models of Craftsman rear-engine riding lawn mowers. Although there were no known injuries or deaths involving these lawn mowers, the company failed to report the defect to CPSC as required under the Consumer Product Safety Act.
Murray Inc., of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., manufactured 36,000 rear-engine riding mowers for Sears under the Craftsman label. Murray recalled the lawn mowers in March 2003 and paid a $375,000 civil penalty in September 2003 for filing a late report on the lawn mowers.
According to federal law, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers are required to report to CPSC immediately (within 24 hours) after obtaining information which reasonably supports the conclusion that a product contains a defect which could create a substantial risk of injury to the public, presents an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or violates a federal safety standard.
In agreeing to settle the matter, Sears, Roebuck and Co. denies that it violated the reporting requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Act.
About the U.S. CPSC
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years.
Federal law prohibits any person from selling products subject to a Commission ordered recall or a voluntary recall undertaken in consultation with the CPSC.
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