Haier America Trading LLC has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $587,500 for failure to disclose a product defect in their Oscillating Tower Fan, model FTM140GG. The fine stems from the company’s failure to immediately inform the US Consumer Product Safety Commission of the known fire hazard. According to the defect allegations, repeated bending of the fan’s wires during oscillation caused the wired to break, posing a significant risk of hazard to the consumer. From May to October 2004, the company received 14 reports of incidents, some of which included fires. There was one report that included injury. In spite of the reports, no report was filed with the Consumer Products Safety Commission, even though Haier America was required to do so under federal law. No report was forthcoming until December 2004 when the federal agency asked for a report. A full year later, the product was recalled from the market. “Prompt reporting in this case could have prevented fires and injuries,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “Companies have a responsibility to immediately let us know of potential hazards, and we will hold them to their duty.” The Consumer Product Safety Commission is still interested in any unreported incidents regarding the oscillating fan defect.
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