The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that a liquidating trust acting on behalf of a now-dissolved manufacturer of heaters has agreed to pay the government a $500,000 civil penalty. The penalty settles allegations that Vornado Air Circulation Systems Inc., formerly of Andover, Kan., failed to report in a timely manner incidents of fire and overheating from defective heaters.
From January 1993 through February 2004, Vornado received more than 300 reports of units overheating, melting, smoking, or catching fire. The firm failed to report these incidents to the CPSC in a timely manner. Vornado finally reported the incidents to the CPSC in February 2004, but only after information was requested by the Commission staff.
Federal law requires firms to report to CPSC immediately after obtaining information reasonably supporting the conclusion that a product contains a defect which could create a substantial product hazard, or creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death.
“The law is clear and exists for a reason,” said CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord. “Any delay puts consumers at greater risk. The quicker we know about a dangerous product, the faster we can act to protect consumers.”
In agreeing to settle the matter, the liquidating trust denies that Vornado violated federal law.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazard. CPSC's work to help ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household chemicals -– contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.
Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly-announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury go online to www.SaferProducts.gov or call CPSC's Hotline at 800-638-2772 or teletypewriter at 301-595-7054 for the hearing impaired. Consumers can obtain news release and recall information at www.cpsc.gov, on Twitter @USCPSC or by subscribing to CPSC's free e-mail newsletters.
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