Articles Posted in Consumer Safety Alert

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Generally, when you buy a car and are promised a feature—like air conditioning, satellite radio, or navigation—you expect that feature to continue to work/exist AFTER you take your car off the lot. Well, this expectation seems not to be shared by the people over at Mazda, as 2016 Mazda vehicle owners recently found out.

When consumers purchased a 2016 Mazda vehicle, real-time navigation software was one of the features of the vehicle they were buying (or at least that’s what they were led to believe). In early 2016, however, that very same software stopped functioning for all Mazda vehicles. Or, to hear 2016 Mazda owners tell it:

Wife and I picked up a 2016 CX-F about a month or so ago, I’ve noticed that the navigation is having a lot of problems keeping a lock on the car. I drove about 10 or 15 miles to my doctors office this morning and the whole time the nav was shoing me either 2 or 3 miles off the interstate or it was thinking I was on a different road completely. It did this the whole way there, even going on a long straight on the interstate it would suddenly jump me off the road and took minutes to lock back on. I checked the GPS information and it was showing 7 or 8 locked sats on me and at high accuracy. Continue reading

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Relaxer products are notorious for containing lye – a caustic ingredient that can burn skin and damage hair.  So hundreds of thousands of consumers took the bait when L’Oréal introduced its “NO-LYE” product known as SoftSheen-Carson Optimum Amla Legend No-Mix, No-Lye Relaxer.

L’Oréal’s relaxer is prominently labeled “NO-LYE” to target consumers seeking a gentler alternative.  The Amla Legend line is promoted as a collection of nourishing products infused with Amla oil, a luxurious oil “derived from the Indian Amla superfruit known as the Gooseberry, a powerful antioxidant rich in vitamins, essential fatty acids and minerals.”  L’Oréal markets the Amla Legend relaxer as a “Rejuvenating Ritual” which will provide “fuller, silkier hair” and “respect for hair fiber integrity.”

Large numbers of women big to differ.  Dissatisfied customers from around the country have posted their grievances online.  For example, when we at the Blog last checked, more than 70% of reviewers at Amazon.com gave L’Oréal’s Amla Legend relaxer the lowest possible rating of one star.  Comments included:   Continue reading

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As we’ve repeatedly covered here on the blog, so called “miracle products” that sound too good to be true—like the X Hose, DeckOver and Grassology—usually promise far more than they actually deliver. Consumers instead tend to wind up with fragile products that break far sooner than expected or simply can’t perform as promised. But miracle products only find their way onto the blog because the target market wants to believe the products work and buys them…… and there is no group that needs and wants miracle products more than new and expecting parents….

Enter the Baby Brezza Formula Pro. The Baby Brezza Formula Pro promises customers hassle-free, warm bottles at any time of day or night. But don’t listen to me, hear it from the makers of the Baby Brezza Formula Pro themselves:

Say goodbye to the time and hassle of manually preparing baby’s bottles. Introducing Formula Pro, the revolutionary new way of preparing your baby’s formula bottles. The Formula Pro uses patented technology to measure, dispense and mix water and powdered formula to the perfect temperature and consistency. With the push of a button, you can prepare a bottle within seconds that has no air bubbles. The water and formula powder are stored right in the machine, so it’s always ready for you when your baby gets hungry. The machine works with all bottle sizes and all formula brands and types. You can also choose the amount of formula you want to make: 2, 4, 6, 8 or 10 ounces. The easiest way to prepare baby’s bottles is now right at your fingertips.

To hear Baby Brezza tell it, the Formula Pro will change parents’ lives. “Forget making bottles at midnight, just push a button!”

Unfortunately for new parents everywhere, the Baby Brezza Formula Pro is the newest defective product to find its way onto this blog. The defect seems to lie in the Baby Brezza Formula Pro’s design: the system of tubes that are used to transport and mix water and formula clog during use. Unbeknownst to parents, the clogs may prevent the Baby Brezza Formula Pro from dispensing the right amount of formula, resulting in a watery bottle. And with all that clogging comes mold and mildew, a parent’s worst nightmare. As any parent knows—well, mostly the moms 😉 —watery bottles are no good for baby, and anything that’s not good for baby means more “hassle” for you. From Amazon, to BuyBuy Baby down to Diapers.com, parents everywhere say the Baby Brezza is virtually guaranteed to clog and fail without constant cleaning. Continue reading

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An investigation by the New York Attorney General has revealed that many health conscious consumers have been duped into paying high prices for herbal supplements that are essentially sugar pills.  The office tested several name-brand herbal supplements (Gingko Biloba, St. John’s Wort, Ginseng, Garlic, Echinacea, Saw Palmetto, and Valerian Root) from Walgreens, GNC, Target and WalMart to determine if they contained the advertised ingredients.  The study revealed that some of the herbal supplements tested had none of the ingredients advertised.  In some cases, the supplements contained many ingredients not advertised on the label, such as wheat, soy, and beans—known allergens that could pose potentially serious health risks if unknowingly ingested by those with allergies.

The results were so troubling that the New York Attorney General ordered the retailers to cease and desist selling certain products in New York State.  Unfortunately, the power of the New York Attorney General does not extend beyond  New York State, so they may still be available for sale in your state.  Furthermore, the cease and desist letters do not require the retailers to reimburse consumers who purchased these not-as-advertised supplements.

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In the two months since Cafferty Clobes Meriwether & Sprengel LLP filed a class action on behalf of consumers who own or lease vehicles with the defective and dangerous exploding Takata airbags, several new and troubling developments have emerged.

The Takata Cover-Up

In early November 2014, two former employees of Takata Corp. subsidiary TK Holdings, Inc. publicly announced in a New York Times exposé that TK Holdings, Inc. tested the defective airbags in 2004 after a Takata airbag exploded and shot shrapnel at a driver in Alabama.  According to those former employees, out of concern that the airbags may be defective, Takata, through subsidiary TK Holdings Inc., (collectively, “Takata”) tested 50 airbags over a period of three months at its Auburn Hills, Michigan facility.  During those tests, conducted on airbags retrieved from junk yards, the airbags’ steel inflater canisters cracked in two of the airbags.  According to the employees, one of whom was a senior lab technician at TK Holdings, Inc. at the time, this cracking could lead to rupture.

Per the statements of the former employees, lab technicians conducting the tests were troubled by the results and immediately began investigating a fix in anticipation of a recall of vehicles containing the defective airbags, and presumably, for airbags manufactured in the future.  However, when the testing results were reported to the decision-makers at the Takata subsidiary, the executives discounted the testing results, ordered the testing laboratory employees to delete all results of the testing from their computers and other files, and instructed them to throw away all of the tested airbags in the trash.  Takata, nor its subsidiaries, took any further action at that time.  The former employees tied this investigation and reported defect to the current recall. Continue reading

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On Friday, October 31, 2014, several consumers filed a class action on behalf of a nationwide class of vehicle owners who own or lease certain vehicles containing defective Takata airbags.  The class action seeks to represent the millions of affected vehicle owners throughout the United States.  The action was filed in the federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, where defective airbag manufacturer Takata Corporation’s American subsidiary is headquartered.  These consumers are represented by the experienced class action attorneys at Cafferty Clobes Meriwether & Sprengel LLP.

This class action seeks relief in the form of damages, injunctive and equitable relief, and any other appropriate relief to be determined by the Court.

For more information on this class action, and to find out if you are part of the class, contact us at (215) 864-2800, by e-mail.

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The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) has urged consumers to take immediate action to replace defective airbags in millions of BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Suburu, and Toyota vehicles.  The model years of the affected vehicles range from 2000 to 2011 depending on manufacturer and model.  You can check to see if your vehicle is subject to the recall by entering your vehicle’s Vehicle Identification Number (“VIN”) on the NHTSA Web site.

The vehicles subject to the recall all contain airbags manufactured by Takata Corporation (“Takata”).  These airbags, which are meant to serve an important safety function, protecting you and your family in the event of an accident, can actually cause shrapnel-firing explosions when activated, potentially causing even greater injury than the accident alone, and possibly death.  This creates an extremely dangerous condition, as even in a minor accident, airbags can be deployed.  At least four deaths have been attributed to this defect.

The defect seems to manifest more frequently in hot, humid climates, so the NHTSA is urging consumers with affected vehicles in those regions to head to their dealers immediately.  Experts in the industry have speculated that the defect is attributable to ammonium nitrate, a chemical used to cause the airbags to deploy in milliseconds.  Takata is the only airbag manufacturer that uses this chemical.  Bloomberg reports that the use of this chemical could result in lighter, smaller airbags.  Unfortunately, this chemical is sensitive to moisture, and its addition leads to unstable ammonium nitrate, that when ignited on airbag deployment can cause the airbag and shrapnel to explode violently, causing injury or death to those in the vehicle.

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Everyone who has a television has likely seen an advertisement for X Hose or X Hose Pro (“X Hose”) at some time over the past several years.  The advertisements are compelling for anyone who has ever used a traditional garden hose, which can be prone to kinking, bulky, heavy and generally unwieldy.  Finally, you think, a garden hose that will not take up a lot of space in your garage, garden, or shed and will be easily portable, while still being effective and durable.  Unfortunately, consumers have found DAP Products Inc.’s (“DAP”) X Hose product to be anything but as advertised.

DAP Products Inc. created and patented the X Hose and X Hose Pro—expandable garden hoses it advertises as lightweight, easy to use, easy to store, and tough, durable, and long lasting.  As compared to a more traditional garden hose, which is typically made of rubber, the X Hose is constructed with a thin cloth layer exterior and a rubber internal tube interior. This allows the X Hose to contract when there is no water in the hose, providing for easier storage and making for a more lightweight product.  These X Hoses are sold in traditional stores, such as Home Depot, online, and over the telephone.

While it sounds like a great product, the X Hose is actually prone to popping, bursting, leaking, kinking, tearing, and exploding, sometimes after a period of only a few weeks or months of regular use. Continue reading

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Back in the days before the internet and gourmet coffee, cleaning your oven was a major hassle. You had to mix a cleaning solution, spray it all over the oven, get on your hands and knees and scrub, scrub, scrub until all the gunk and build-up from weeks (years?) of cooking was gone. That’s how you cleaned your oven. But then came self-cleaning ovens. You close the door to your oven, hit the “self-clean” button and you’re done! Easy, right?! The feature works by heating the oven to incredible temperatures in order to burn off baked-on food, grease, and everything else that makes your oven look so …… not clean.

Built-in KitchenAid ovens manufactured by Whirlpool include this supposedly helpful feature. But as hundreds of consumers have learned, not only does the self-cleaning feature on KitchenAid built-in ovens not work, it may break your oven or even hurt your family.  As a result, the firm is considering filing a class action against KitchenAid in connection with its defective ovens.

Some built-in KitchenAid ovens suffer from a significant manufacturing defect that causes the unit to malfunction after it has self-cleaned, and to eventually fail completely. Specifically, the tremendous heat generated during the self-cleaning cycle may cause the oven’s thermostat, fuses or other electrical components to short. Hiding these heating elements underneath the oven floor and above the oven ceiling represent a great improvement over older ovens, but this also means that it’s more difficult to vent the heat from those elements and keep air circulating. Self-cleaning, often with temperatures that go over 1000°, is a particular problem. The elements and the oven just get so hot — much, much hotter than the 350° to 500° range of normal baking — that sometimes fuses pop and control panels burn out. As a result, ovens often cannot command themselves to unlock after completing a cleaning cycle. Other functions may also become impaired. At the end of the day the result is the same — your expensive oven stops working, sometimes at the worst possible moment. Continue reading