Retailers have an obligation to quickly remove recalled products from their
store shelves. Unfortunately, some do not fulfill their obligations, placing
the public at risk for injuries from these unsafe products.
Most recently, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
announced that Best Buy Co., Inc. will pay a $3.8 million civil penalty for distributing and selling previously recalled consumer products. The
recalled products included defective dehumidifiers linked to $2 million
in property damage and exploding plastic bottles that injured nine people.
As we have previously discussed on this San Diego Injury Blog, the U.S.
Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) requires retailers
to report within 24 hours a consumer product that:
- Fails to comply with an applicable consumer product safety rule;
- Contains a defect that could create a “substantial product hazard”; or
- Contains a defect that creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death.
The federal product safety law also prohibits retailers from selling, offering
to sell, or otherwise distributing a consumer product that is subject
to voluntary corrective action, such as a recall, that has been publicly
announced and taken in consultation with CPSC.
The CPSC alleged that Best Buy knowingly sold and distributed 16 different
recalled products during a five-year period from 2010 through 2015. The
agency also charged that Best Buy failed to implement adequate procedures
to accurately identify, quarantine, and prevent the sales of the recalled
products across all of its supply channels.
In some cases, Best Buy failed to permanently block product codes due to
inaccurate information that signaled that the recalled product was not
in inventory. In other cases, the blocked codes were reactivated prematurely,
and in a few cases, overridden. Even more concerning, the sales of recalled
products continued even after Best Buy told CPSC that it had put measures
into place to reduce the risk of sales of recalled products.
In addition to paying the $3.8 million civil penalty, Best Buy has agreed
to maintain a compliance program that is designed to ensure compliance
with the CPSA, including a program for the appropriate disposal of recalled products.
If you or someone you love has suffered serious harm due to a recalled
or otherwise defective product, you may be entitled to compensation. To
discuss your legal rights, contact
a San Diego product liability lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage
for a free consultation.