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HP Must Answer for Flaming Fax Machines

CHICAGO (CN) - Hewlett-Packard may be on the hook for selling fax machines which it allegedly knew were a fire hazard, a federal judge ruled.

In 2010, Nector Stavropoulos bought a Hewlett-Packard 1040 fax machine, a model very similar in design and specifications to a machine the company recalled in 2008 because a defective power supply caused some machines to overheat and catch on fire.

HP sold approximately 928,000 model 1040 fax machines in the U.S. and Canada between 2004 and 2011.

But according to Stavropoulos, HP knew in 2008 that the 1040 machine contained the same defect as its recalled product, but failed to do anything about it until 2012, when a new recall was issued.

Stavropoulos says because of the HP's inaction, he bought the product unaware that it was a fire risk.

The recall stated that the company was aware of seven incidents of its fax machines catching fire, including one resulting in major property damage. HP's rebate program accompanying the recall did not offer consumers enough to purchase a new one, complaint says.

U.S. District Judge Sara Ellis upheld Stavropoulos' deceptive practices and unjust enrichment claims last week, denying HP's motion to dismiss.

"Stavropoulos states that he viewed the 1040 fax machine packaging before the purchase and would not have bought the 1040 if he knew it posed a risk of fire and burns," Ellis wrote. "Although Stavropoulos does not allege that he was deceived in so many words, he does plead enough to support a plausible connection between the purported omission, his viewing of the packaging, and his purchase of the product."

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