Delaying Report of Oven Hazard to Cost Electrolux
(CN) - Electrolux Home Products agreed Wednesday to pay a $750,000 civil penalty to settle claims over a safety hazard associated with certain wall ovens.
The United States brought the federal complaint against Electrolux on behalf of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in Augusta, Ga.
It said "Electrolux became aware of incidents in which gas could build up in the oven during broiling and escape and ignite, causing burn and fire hazards to consumers," according to a statement on the case Wednesday.
"Electrolux imported and distributed approximately 7,800 of the Kenmore ovens that were sold by Sears and other stores throughout the United States," the Justice Department added.
The Consumer Product Safety Act requires manufacturers, distributors and retailers to report product hazards to the federal commission.
Regulators said Electrolux knew of 22 consumer reports between February 2006 and November 2007 of flames shooting out of the oven when the broiler was on.
While some consumers suffered singed hair from these incidents, others were left with facial burns, according to the complaint.
The United States said Frigidaire Canada, Electrolux's sister company, had identified the defective and hazardous nature of the ovens as early as January 2005, and had implemented a design change to fix the defect in March 2006.
Despite this knowledge, Electrolux "knowingly failed to report immediately" the hazard to the commission, the Justice Department said.
In addition to the fine, Electrolux's settlement requires it to create and maintain a compliance program to keep track of information about product-safety hazards. The settlement does not contain any admission of knowingly violated the CPSA.
Though based in Charlotte, N.C., Electrolux had a principal place of business in Augusta during the relevant time period.
A recall of the ovens was announced in 2008.