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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More Throttle Trouble

Ford and Mazda have announced recalls for thousands of their vehicles involving a sticking throttle.  In both of these vehicles, the throttle has a tendency to stick in the wide open position because of a clearance problem between the  engine cover and a cable connector.  As a result, when the driver tries to slow down  by releasing pressure on the accelerator pedal, the vehicular speed will not decrease.  Furthermore,  it may be difficult to stop the vehicle and could result in a crash.  The vehicles that are involved in this recall are 2001-2004 Ford Escape and 2001-2006 Mazda Tribute.  It seems odd that Ford and Mazda should have the same recall but, Ford apparently contributed to the manufacture of the Tribute.  It should be noted that Ford issued a recall for the same problem a few years ago.  Their solution was to replace the cable.  However, it appears that their solution was inadequate.  Now, the problem is still in existence and over 600,000 vehicles have to be repaired.  In the meantime, drivers and their passengers are at risk for serious injury if they lose control because of this defect.

Corolla, Matrix and Vibe Recall

Toyota has recalled over one million 2005-2008 Corolla and Matrix vehicles due to a defect in the engine control module. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the module can crack as a result of faulty manufacturing. If the module cracks, the engine might not start. If in operation, the driver might sense harsh shifting or the engine can stall resulting in a crash. The recalled vehicles are equipped with two-wheel drive and an 1ZZ-FE engine.  General Motors has also recalled approximately 200,000 2005-2008 Pontiac Vibes for the same defect. General Motors and Toyota created a joint venture to design and build the Vibe and as a result, used the same engine control module that was used in the Corolla and Matrix vehicles.  For additional information, please visit the NHTSA website at www.nhtsa.gov and reference NHTSA campaign number 10V384000 or contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.

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