The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that it has reached a settlement with E&B Giftware LLC (E&B), of Yonkers, N.Y., resolving CPSC staff allegations that E&B failed to report a defect with its fitness balls. In settling this matter, E&B has agreed to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $550,000. The settlement agreement has been provisionally accepted by the Commission.
CPSC staff alleged that E&B's subsidiary, EB Brands, LLC (EB Brands), knew of 25 incidents related to the defective balls as early as 2007, but failed to immediately inform the Commission as required by federal law. Some of these incidents led to consumers being injured. By October 2008, when EB Brands reported to the Commission, EB Brands knew of at least 44 incidents involving the fitness balls.
EB Brands sold three million of the fitness balls from May 2000 through February 2009. They were recalled in April 2009. At that time, there were 47 reports of the fitness balls unexpectedly bursting when overinflated by consumers, resulting in injuries, including a fracture and bruises.
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 fails to comply with any consumer product safety rule or any other rule, regulation, standard or ban enforced by CPSC.
In agreeing to the settlement, E&B denies CPSC staff allegations that it knowingly violated the law.