Earlier this year, many of us were returning the Hoverboards that Santa brought after learning that the lithium-ion battery packs can overheat and catch fire and/or explode. Over half a million units have been recalled by 10 companies alone. ( As an attorney, this is gets our attention as we work with people who have been harmed by products all too often.)
The Ikea recall
The company has announced plans to discontinue their MALM dresser after three toddler deaths. In fact, the retailer is rethinking all of its heavy dressers and chests – they sell approximately 2 million per year in the U.S. alone. Their taller chests and dressers have failed the safety tests and they can fall over when not anchored to a wall. In the past, IKEA had offered a free kit to attach them to a wall, but now they are being pressured by consumer groups to eliminate the products from the market altogether. For those who have purchased the dressers, refunds and/or store credits are available, as are free anchoring kits.
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Chairman doesn’t want IKEA to stop here.
His hope is that they will lead the way for the entire furniture industry – to make sure that furniture is stable and to lead efforts to ensure that consumers are safe. The American Home Furnishings Alliance is active in exploring improved product safety methods as well.
According to the CPSC, some communities suffer more deaths and injuries from consumer products than others. Low income, minority and limited-English speaking communities, (as well as the general public) need to know about the dangerous products that are out there. There is a lot of helpful information on the SPSC.gov website. As an attorney, I also suggest doing some safety research on any type of large/heavy product you are considering purchasing. This involves everything from a BBQ smoker to a space heater.
As consumers, we assume that the products we see on the shelves and purchase for our families are safe.
The public all too often cloaks these giant corporations in a veil of good intentions, assuming that they have our best interest at heart. Unfortunately, all too often these companies care more about selling products and saving money than the safety and well being of the public.
We have certainly seen this in the pharmaceutical industry. Our biggest advice is “buyer beware” – kick the tires, do your homework, be skeptical. A simple Google search can help you find out if a product has had any harmful issues.
We have actually seen cases where large multinational corporations knew they had dangerous products out there on shelves and made a conscious business decision that it would be cheaper to leave it out there and deal with the damage claims and lawsuits one by one than to engage in a product recall that would protect the public. Hence, the Ikea recall situation sparking product liability cases that are all too common.
Companies are putting their financial interest ahead of your safety everyday. They invest a lot of money on the research and development of new products and getting these products out to market. Admitting there is a problem with one of their products, like in the Ikea recall situation, not only has a direct impact on their bottom line but can strain their relationship with distributors, wholesalers, their sales team and retailers. Corporations do not like to admit that they have a problem with a product they are selling. They will go to great lengths to bury the truth in order to protect their financial investment and justify their past business decisions.