General Electric Pays $3.5 million Civil Penalty

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported that it has come to an agreement with General Electric regarding an imposed penalty for not reporting defects in two of its product lines. The products were identified as the “Profile” dual fuel ranges and “Profile and Monogram” dishwashers. According to the CPSC, press release number 15-082 dated February 19, 2015; General Electric had been notified about overheating of a wiring harness connector back in 2004 but did not report the problem until 2009. It was further determined that the overheating of the connector could also pose a fire hazard. In April of 2009, General Electric recalled 28,000 dual fuel ranges because of the hazard. Furthermore, the CPSC has determined that the control board in “Profile” and “Monogram” dishwashers can short circuit as result of the buildup of condensation on the boards. The short circuiting can also pose fire and burn hazards. According to the CPSC, General Electric had known about the problem since 2007 but failed to report the defect to the CPSC until 2010. Instead, the company chose to settle claims and make payments based on reports of defective units. In October of 2010, the company recalled 174,000 units.

Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors and retailers to notify the CPSC immediately after learning of a potential defect in a product that could be hazardous to consumers. Consumers can report a dangerous product by going on line to www.saferproducts.gov or calling the CPSC hotline at 1-800-638-2772.

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Samsung Washing Machine Update

Recently, we updated our blog to include another instance of a failed drain pump bracket in a Samsung washing machine. In that update, it was reported that the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) local representative had been notified and asked to investigate. On August 26, we were notified that the CPSC’s compliance division was not taking any action at this time. It is therefore recommended that consumers who have experienced problems with Samsung’s drain pump bracket failures report the failures to the CPSC. The website address is http://www.cpsc.gov . Follow the links to on the home page to submit your complaint. An exemplar photograph of a broken bracket and pump is shown below.

Broken bracket and pump found in Samasung washing machine

Broken bracket and pump found in Samasung washing machine

Another Samsung Drain Pump Failure

Earlier this past July, it was reported that Samsung was experiencing a problem with drain pump bracket failures in some of their washing machines. Another Samsung washing machine has been encountered with the same problem. This time, the bracket problem is in model number WA456DRHDWR/AA. As in the previous description, the bracket fails, the pump hangs and eventually pulls the inlet drain hose off of the wash tub allowing water to flow freely onto the floor. Since there are a number of complaints about this problem on-line, a representative of the Consumer Product Safety Commission has been contacted and asked to investigate to determine if a recall should be initiated. To date, no word has been received from the CPSC on what will happen.

More Recalls?

Whatever happened to the days when recalls were something you never heard about? remember when cars and appliances were built to last and not hurt anyone or anything? Remember when a manufacturer was disgraced if they built a bad product? Those days are long gone and have been for a long time. Those of us that grew up in the 50s and 60s can remember those times. But, those born in the late 60s and afterward do not know a time when american products and quality have NOT been in question. Recalls are part of life. Just take a look at NHTSA’s website or the website of the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Both are filled with problems that plague products, manufacturers, and  consumers. So what’s the answer? The answer is that we have known what the answer is for a long time. A lot of lessons were learned about quality during the 1970s. We know how to build good products. But, building good products doesn’t put people to work. Selling products puts people to work and keeps them working. Building good products keeps them in use for long periods of time. So, if something lasts, sales will be lower than if the product lifetime is shorter. Shorter lifetimes equates to a demand for more products. More products means faster production rates. Faster production means poor quality. Poor quality means more recalls. A vicious cycle?

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