Articles Posted in Consumer Safety Alert

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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