FEBRUARY 4, 1992


Release # 92-050

WASHINGTON, DC -- The General Electric Company (GE), today announced that it is intensifying its recall of certain GE brand and Universal brand drip coffeemakers manufactured before April 28, 1984.

GE, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), launched a voluntary recall of these units in March 1991. They want to remind consumers that these coffeemakers could represent a significant fire hazard and that consumers in many areas of the U.S. still have not returned their units.

The company believes that a fire hazard may occur when a supplier's thermal fuse in the coffeemaker fails to function as intended. About nine million drip coffeemakers bearing the GE or Universal brand name were manufactured between 1976 and 1984.

GE has received approximately 500 reports of coffeemakers overheating. It has been alleged that one fire caused by a fuse failure resulted in two fatalities and serious personal injury to eight other people. GE has received claims that fuse failures also may have been responsible for fires that resulted in three additional deaths and 17 personal injuries. Approximately 380 of the claims involve property damage ranging in value from $300 to $1.3 million.

As an incentive, GE is offering owners $10 for each recalled unit returned. A $10 check will be mailed when a unit is received by GE. GE will give consumers with recalled coffeemakers pre-paid mailing cartons. The carton will contain instructions that will tell consumers how to arrange for convenient pick-up. This innovative method of recall is aimed at reducing consumer effort and increasing the rate of return.

No units made on or after April 28, 1984 are involved in this recall. To determine the date of manufacture, check the date code number stamped on the outside metal blade of the electric plug. If the number is 418 through 600, the coffeemaker is not involved in this recall. Other GE brand and Universal brand drip coffeemakers which are not involved in the recall are:

- Space Maker Drip Coffeemakers (catalog numbers that include the designations SDC1, SDC2, and SDC3)

- Percolators

Owners of a GE brand or Universal brand drip coffeemaker are asked to read both the catalog number on the bottom of the unit and the date code stamped on the outside of the metal blades of the electric plug. If the coffeemaker is a recalled unit, consumers should call toll-free 1-800-443-9000.

The recalled coffeemakers are not repairable, and owners should unplug the unit and stop using it immediately. Consumers are being asked to check the automatic drip coffeemakers at their home and place of work.

The CPSC is issuing this joint warning as part of its mission to protect the public from unreasonable risks of injury and death associated with consumer products. The Commission's objective is to reduce the estimated 28.5 million injuries and 21,600 deaths associated each year with the 15,000 different types of consumer products under CPSC's jurisdiction.