WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that Viking Range, LLC, of Greenwood, Mississippi, and Viking’s parent firm, The Middleby Corporation, of Elgin, Illinois (collectively “Viking”), have agreed to pay a $4.65 million civil penalty. The civil penalty settles charges that Viking failed to immediately report to CPSC that its gas ranges contained a defect that could create a substantial product hazard or that the ranges created an unreasonable risk of serious injury.
Between 2008 and 2014, Viking received 170 incident reports of ranges that had turned on spontaneously and could not be turned off using the control knobs, resulting in extreme surface temperatures that posed a burn hazard to consumers. The reported incidents included two consumers who were unable to turn off the range using the controls and were burned while attempting to disconnect the power source. Viking also received five reports that the ranges had turned on spontaneously and caused property damage to the area surrounding the range. Several consumers called 911 for assistance when they discovered that the ranges had turned on spontaneously and could not be turned off or disconnected. Viking knew of this information, but failed to notify CPSC immediately of the defect or risk posed by the ranges, as required by federal law.
Viking recalled 52,000 ranges in May 2015. The ranges were sold at ABT, Ferguson, Morrison, Pacific Sales, PC Richard & Son and other stores nationwide from July 2007 through June 2014 for between $4,000 and $13,000.
In addition to paying the $4.65 million civil penalty, Viking has agreed to maintain an enhanced compliance program to ensure compliance with the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA). Viking will also maintain a related system of internal controls and procedures.
Viking’s settlement of this matter does not constitute an admission of CPSC staff’s charges.
The penalty agreement has been accepted provisionally by the Commission by a 4 to 1 vote. Acting Chairman Buerkle voted to accept a smaller penalty.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product 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 deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.
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