December 2011 Archives

Companies Recall Popular iProducts in the Middle of the Holiday Season

December 15, 2011


The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recently put out recalls for two electronic products that could cause burns of fire hazards.

At this time of year, every consumer must be aware of what they are purchasing, especially when considering the vast amount of electronics products that are on the market. Technology is always changing and companies are clamoring to get the first great product on the shelves to maximize profits.

But consumer protection should be the No. 1 goal of companies when it sometimes isn't. Our defective product attorneys are prepared to help everyday people when they are injured because of the recklessness of businesses that cut corners in manufacturing products in order to make big profits.

In many cases, companies will produce a children's toy, a drug or even a 3,000-pound vehicle without taking into consideration all potential problems. They may rush the product into manufacturing and then to consumers without properly conducting safety tests.

Sadly, it may take an accident or a death before the company agrees to recall the product, even though federal standards require companies to notify the government within 24 hours of discovering an injury or death from one of their products. Many times, they will risk a large fine from the CPSC and instead leave the product on the shelf to try to make as much money as possible, regardless of the dangers.

However, the consumer must take responsibility, too. You shouldn't necessarily trust that the company making the product is going to do the right thing in ensuring your safety.

The CPSC recently recalled two electronics products because they could burn someone or catch fire. In one case, a Michigan-based company, Morphie, recalled its iPod Touch rechargeable external battery case because it's possible a person could get burned by it.

The Morphie Juice Pack Air rechargeable external battery has a lithium polymer battery built into a casing made of plastic that is designed to attach to the back of an iPod Touch 4G MP3 music player. The company received word from consumers -- 100 users said the product became warm to the touch, in 44 cases the product became deformed and there were nine reports of people receiving minor burns.

Only cases with numbers TR113 to TR120 are subjected to the recall. They were sold at B&H Photo, Barnes & Noble, InMotion Entertainment, J&R Music World, Marine Corps Exchange stores, and for $50 since April.

A second product -- the Rocketfish Model RF-KL12 battery case for the iPhone 3G and 3GS was recently recalled after consumers found that the battery case can overheat and cause a fire hazard while its charging.

The product was imported from China by Best Buy and more than 31,000 have been sold nationwide. In 14 instances, people found that the battery case that is designed to hold the phone and comes with a built-in battery overheated. There were four reports of minor property damage and three situations where a person received minor injuries.

The products were sold exclusively at Best Buy from April 2010 to September 2011 and sold for between $10 and $60. The CPSC recommends not using the product and contacting Best Buy for a refund and instructions on how to return the product.

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Government Reports Toys Safer This Holiday Season, But Defective Products Still Exist

December 5, 2011


The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the organization dedicated to ensuring consumer products are safe, recently reported that recalls of child toys are down.

That's likely because there are plenty of stringent guidelines that companies must take into consideration when they are producing consumer goods, especially children's toys. Still, that doesn't necessarily mean that every single new toy this holiday season is going to be safe for children. That is why parents and other adults who buy toys must remain vigilant.

Our product liability lawyers have seen children injured or killed because of bad products. And, sadly, it usually takes a tragic accident or more than one incident before companies voluntarily recall products that are defective.

And sometimes it requires more than one accident before companies are willing to admit fault. They are sometimes forced into it by the CPSC and other safety organizations. Manufacturers of toys and other products realize that a recall means bad public relations and a big loss of money. Yet, they don't consider the harm that can be done to the consumers they are catering to -- children.

The recent press release reports that stronger federal rules about production of toys and other children's goods are helping to restore the public's confidence in toy safety. There are some new toy safety guidelines:

  • Low lead content and lead paint limits worldwide

  • A stringent limit on phthalates

  • Converting voluntary toy standards into mandatory standards

  • Third-party testing required and certification for toys aimed at children 12 and younger

  • New limits for cadmium in toys

  • Tracking shipments with border protection agencies to increase seizure of dangerous imported toys

Since 2008, there has been a decrease in the number of toy recalls. In the fiscal year for 2011, there were 34 recalls, down from 46 the year before, 50 in 2009 and 172 in 2008.

Small balls, rubber balls and balloons were attributed for nearly half of the 17 fatalities reported in 2010. That was up 2 from 2009. This shows that there are still inherent risks for certain types of toys. Consumers must use common sense when considering which toy to buy.

Some safety tips for consumers:

Balloons: Children can choke or suffocate on deflated or broken balloons, so throw them away if they're broken.

Small balls and toys with small parts: Keep away from children under 3.
Scooters and riding toys: They can go fast and falls can be fatal. Require helmets and safety gear.

Magnets: For children under 6, avoid toys with magnets.

Everyone wants their children to enjoy the toys we buy them, but we don't want them to be harmed. Take a common sense approach to products that you may question as being dangerous. Regulators can only do so much to make a difference. Your children are relying on you.

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