The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Perfect Fitness, of Sausalito, Calif., has agreed to pay a $425,000 civil penalty. The settlement agreement (pdf) has been provisionally accepted by the Commission (5-0).
The penalty agreement resolves staff allegations that Perfect Fitness knowingly failed to report to CPSC immediately, as required by federal law, about a defect with the handles of Perfect Pullup exercise equipment. The defect causes the handles of the product to break during use, resulting in a fall hazard to consumers.
CPSC staff alleges that Perfect Fitness concluded in June 2008 that its exercise equipment was defective following retesting of the handle design. The testing was done after the firm received a complaint and, according to the firm's internal review, an unusual number of product returns. Perfect Fitness redesigned the product to correct the defect in July 2008.
CPSC staff alleges that Perfect Fitness was aware of at least 23 injuries associated with its product in March 2010 and posted a notice on its website to let consumers know they could get free replacement handles. Staff alleges the firm told consumers that the original handles were "inferior" and could result in an "accident."
The firm did not report the defect to CPSC until December 2010. By that time, CPSC staff alleges the firm was aware of at least 45 complaints of injury associated with the handles breaking and had received more than 2,000 requests for replacements.
In February 2011, the firm and CPSC announced a recall of about 7,000 Perfect Pullups. The exercise equipment with the original handles sold for between $80 and $100 at sporting goods stores nationwide and on Amazon.com from January 2008 through February 2011. The exercise equipment with the original handles was also sold through direct television marketing and on the firm's website during some of 2008.
Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to report to CPSC immediately (within 24 hours) after obtaining information reasonably supporting the conclusion that a product contains a defect which could create a substantial product hazard, creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or violates any consumer product safety rule, or any other rule, regulation, standard, or ban enforced by the CPSC.
In agreeing to settle the matter, Perfect Fitness denies CPSC staff's allegations that it knowingly violated the law.