Articles Tagged with Class Action

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Visitors to the blog are well aware of our concern with (supposedly) durable acrylic deck stains marketed by Rust-Oleum, Olympic and Behr. The story goes that instead of having to re-stain your deck every year in order to preserve your wood, acrylic stains – or “resurfacers” as they are sometimes called – provide long-lasting protection that leaves your deck looking brand new for years to come. In other words, acrylic stains are a miracle product! They may cost a bit more than traditional stains, but manufacturers swear (!!) the added cost is more than offset by the products’ longevity and low-maintenance requirements.

Unfortunately, just like the other big boys, Benjamin Moore’s Arborcoat Deck and Siding Stain may not live up to its promises. Benjamin Moore assures customers that its acrylic stains, which retail for over $60-per-gallon, are:

  • Ideal for pressure-treated lumber, cedar and redwood
  • Excellent color retention and durability
  • Creates a smooth finish
  • Self-priming on most surfaces
  • Premium-quality product with excellent resistance to blistering and peeling
  • Unsurpassed resistance to mildew growth on the stain film
  • Easy application with soap-and-water cleanup

And many customers reportedly are satisfied with Arborcoat shortly after application. Like many other acrylic stains on the market, Arborcoat supposedly goes on smooth and leaves a beautiful finish … but many customers report dissatisfaction as the seasons pass…… Continue reading

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toiletThe moist wipe industry is big business in United States.  In 2012, flushable wipes accounted for about 14 percent of the $4 billion wet wipes market. Almost any manufacturer in the toilet paper game makes a “flushable” moist towelette.  These wipes are used by consumers for any number of purposes, from cleaning your hands and face after chowing down on some buffalo wings to substituting for toilet paper.  When these wipes are used for the latter, many have discovered that they are not quite as “flushable” as they claim.  In fact, these wipes can cause a plethora of problems from wreaking environmental havoc to clogging your and your community’s pipes.

Wet wipes recently made news when London, England officials had to remove a 15-ton “fatberg” of grease and wet wipes that was clogging up the city’s sewer system.  The discovery and removal of the fatberg was costly and news of it spread worldwide.

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Staining your deck is a tough task. As anyone who’s done it knows (this author included), staining is time-consuming, expensive and difficult. You have to wash and clean your deck, make sure the weather will hold for days, and then carefully stain your deck using a combination of rollers and brushes (don’t miss those spaces between the boards!). And after all that time and expense …. You get to do it all over again the next year. Hooray for staining! But according to Behr – maker of those same stains you love to hate – there’s a solution: Behr Premium DeckOver®.

Behr claims that Premium DeckOver® and its“100% acrylic formula conceals cracks and splinters up to 1/4″, and creates a smooth, slip-resistant finish that also resists cracking and peeling. It’s available in 54 solid custom colors, and is also great for decks, railings, patios, composite decks, pool decks and walkways.” So instead of having to re-stain your deck every year in order to preserve that lustrous finish, Behr DeckOver provides a long-lasting coating that should leave your deck looking brand new for years to come. Home Depot, Behr’s preferred distributor and the lone Big Box retailer to carry DeckOver®, also claims that DeckOver® “[r]esists cracking & peeling and conceals splinters & cracks up to 1/4 in … [and] Provides a durable, mildew resistant finish.” Between Behr and Home Depot, consumer likely think DeckOver® is a miracle product.

But according to homeowners from across the country, DeckOver® is not all it’s “cracked” up to be. Homeowners from all sorts of climates and places are reporting that Behr Premium DeckOver® is prone to bubbling, peeling, cracking and molding only months after application. The problem seems to lie in the product’s chemical composition. DeckOver® simply will not adhere correctly, and as a result air and moisture become trapped beneath the surface and it result in cracking and peeling that spell disaster for your deck. Moreover, consumers are reporting that Behr will only agree to refund their purchase while making no effort to reimburse consumers for the time and energy they likely expended to stain their deck (not to mention the time and money needed to remove DeckOver® and apply a new stain).  Here’s one angry consumer discussing exactly how his product failed:

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On July 15, 2016, the Firm filed an amended class action complaint concerning the alleged defect in 2010-15 Mazda 3 clutch assemblies.  The case currently is proceeding in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland Division.  We will update this blog post as the case proceeds.

Zoom-Zoom. If you’re a Mazda owner, you’ve probably seen the commercials. They’re everywhere. They’re filled with lively music and images of drivers coasting along highways in their sporty, fun and fast Mazda cars. Chances are they were on your mind when you purchased your Mazda3. And they definitely were when you guided the vehicle onto the road for your first joy ride.

Then your Mazda3’s clutch starts to experience problems like slipping, requiring a little more effort every time you shifted gears. Finally, your Mazda3’s clutch stops working all together. You head in to the nearest dealership, warranty in hand because your Mazda3 is covered by a three-year/36,000 mile warranty, and confident that your Mazda dealer will replace the clutch. After all – your warranty is still in effect. Then reality sets in. Mazda will not cover clutch replacement. The Mazda dealer tells you that your clutch failed and needs to be replaced BECAUSE OF YOU. You “Zoomed-Zoomed” too much, driver error. “But wait,” you say, “I know how to drive a manual car and have never had problems with any other clutch.” Sorry, you’re told, it’s wear and tear, and it’ll be $1200 to replace the clutch so you can get back to zoom-zooming. The bad news? You probably had to pay it. The good news? You’re not alone.

Second generation (2009-2013) Mazda3 owners need to know that premature clutch failure is a common problem well-known to Mazda, and Mazda should be forced to honor its warranty and replace the clutch at no cost to you. Ever since the second generation Mazda3 debuted during the 2009 model year, owners have complained of premature clutch failure, in some cases in as few as 12,000 miles. And the problem only worsened after the release of the 2010 Mazda3. 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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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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Summer is the perfect time for grilling. You can avoid adding extra heat indoors associated with using the oven or stove by cooking outside. The chargrilled taste of a burger or steak on a hot summer day cannot be beat and having friends, family and neighbors over for a barbeque is always a festive experience. Running out of propane in your tank can ruin your meal or your party. In recent years, that may have happened more often as propane exchange tank suppliers—Blue Rhino and AmeriGas lowered the weight of propane supplied in those tanks from 17 pounds to 15 pounds. However, consumers may not have noticed this reduction, because the suppliers did not lower the price accordingly.

A propane exchange tank is a propane tank that a consumer purchases pre-filled from a distributor such as a hardware store, gas station, convenience store, or mass merchandiser such as WalMart, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot. The propane exchange tanks can be purchased either by exchanging an empty tank for a new pre-filled one or as a stand-alone purchase. People who use propane to fuel grills or patio heaters usually purchase propane exchange tanks.

In March 2014, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a complaint against the two biggest propane exchange tank suppliers—Ferrellgas, whose propane exchange tank business operates under the name Blue Rhino, and AmeriGas. Collectively, Blue Rhino and AmeriGas supply 80 percent of the propane exchange tank market in the United States and are the only suppliers of propane exchange tanks capable of servicing mass merchandisers on a national level. The FTC complaint alleges that Blue Rhino and AmeriGas used their collective market power to force their customers to accept a reduction in propane exchange tank fill levels—from 17 pounds to 15 pounds—without a corresponding reduction in price.

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Air conditioners, heat pumps and comprehensive indoor HVAC systems are not only expensive, but also are an important part of your home. Whether you live in the sweltering West Texas heat or just humid Chicago summers, your home’s heating and cooling system makes sure that you stay comfortable and safe regardless of the temperature outside. For homes with elderly residents, controlling the temperature on hot days is particularly important — heat waves are very dangerous for the elderly and have been known to lead to extreme illness or even death. We may think of air conditioning as a luxury, but in many places it is very much a necessity.

Many companies manufacture HVAC systems for distribution and sale in the U.S., but some are certainly more popular than others. Goodman is one of the United States’ leading manufacturers and distributors of air conditioners and heat pumps, which Goodman also sell under the Amana brand name. Goodman/Amana systems can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 and are sold with a 10-year limited warranty applicable to most parts. Rheem also is a major player in the air conditioning and heat pump market. Rheem units similarly vary in price and are sold with warranties lasting anywhere from five to ten years. The extended warranties made available to the original purchasers seemingly cover all major concerns and should protect homeowners in the event that their system malfunctions.

Despite their product and warranty claims, however, for years Goodman and Rheem have knowingly sold consumers heat pumps and air conditioners that use evaporator coils that break prematurely. As one website explains, you might think of your air conditioner as adding cool air to your home, but it’s more accurate to say that your AC unit subtracts heat from indoor air and transfers it outside. That transfer takes place in the evaporator coils on the interior half of your air conditioning system. As the coolant inside the metal coils evaporates, it acts as a heat sink for the air that moves across it from the blower. Copper conducts heat readily, so the coils that contain the coolant are usually made of this metal. In a dual or hybrid heat pump system, the same coils that act as evaporation sites in the summer to cool your home become condensation sites in the winter to provide warmth. 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

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You wake up and head to the shower expecting a hot shower to get your day started – but instead an ice cold blast of water hits you and never warms up. Your gas water heater probably stopped working, and now you’re thinking about how much it might cost to replace it on short notice. But if your gas powered water heater was made by GE, it may have failed due to a defective part that GE has known about for years.

Due in no small part to their cost, GE gas-powered water heaters manufactured by Rheem are some of the most popular water heaters sold in the United States. Sold exclusively through Home Depot, GE gas water heaters are much less expensive than competing brands and electric models. While shopping for your water heater you probably noticed that prices vary not only by the size of the heater, but also by the length of its warranty. Consumers can choose warranties lasting anywhere from two to twelve years depending on how much protection they are willing to purchase. But as many owners of GE-brand water heaters have learned, those expensive warranties mean very little when the thermocouple stops working as intended.

A thermocouple is a sensor used to measure temperature under a wide variety of temperature ranges and conditions. The thermocouple in a gas water heater stands guard over the functioning of the pilot light. It accomplishes this by continually monitoring whether the pilot light is burning and by providing an immediate “fail safe” by shutting down gas supply system when the pilot lights fails to burn. If the thermocouple goes bad, the pilot light might work, but the primary burners will not operate. It could also mean that the pilot cannot function itself, since the thermocouple switches it off automatically because it does not detect any heat. In either case, when a thermocouple goes bad your water heater will stop working.

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