Home Depot Fined for Selling Dangerous Products
By Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews, & Auslander, P.C., Pennsylvania
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Congress established the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in 1972 to protect consumers from dangerous household products.
The CPSC recently charged Home Depot U.S.A. Inc. with selling and distributing previously recalled consumer products. The Atlanta-based chain agreed to pay a civil penalty of $5.7 million to settle the charges. The settlement does not amount to an admission by Home Depot that it knowingly violated the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA).
Details of the charges maintain that the company failed to identify recalled products and separate the inventory to prevent their distribution. It is against federal law to sell a consumer product that is under recall by a manufacturer. Such voluntary corrective actions are generally undertaken after consulting with the CPSC and making an announcement to the public. From August 2012 to November 2016, Home Depot sold and distributed products through traditional register lanes, special services desks, internet sales, salvage sales from its reverse logistic centers, and their donation program. The unsafe products numbered approximately 2,816 and were involved in 33 separate voluntary recall actions.
Recalled Products Sold at Home Depot
The recalled products posed the risk to consumers of fire hazards, electrocution and shock hazards, and laceration hazards, among others. The following is a partial list of the recalled products that were sold by Home Depot:
-HeathCo Motion Activated Outdoor Lights, recalled on July 26, 2012
-Legrand Under Cabinet Power and Light Strips, recalled on September 6, 2012, and expanded on May 15, 2014
-LG Electronics Electric Ranges, recalled on November 8, 2012
-Pramac America LLC Powermate Portable Generators, recalled on November 13, 2012
-Wing Enterprises Stepladders, recalled on December 11, 2012
-LG Electronics, Inc., Top Loading Washers, recalled on December 18, 2012
-CE Tech Riser Cables, recalled on April 9, 2013
-Nourison Rugs, recalled on May 23, 2013
-Soleil Portable Heaters, recalled on July 25, 2013
-Gree Dehumidifiers, recalled on September 12, 2013, expanded in January 2014, and reannounced in May 2014
-HeathCo Motion-Activated Outdoor Lights, recalled on October 30, 2013
-RSI Bathroom Medicine Cabinets, recalled on January 16, 2014
-HDX/Powermate Two-Gallon Air Compressors, recalled on February 12, 2014
-Genie Garage Door Openers, recalled on February 25, 2014
-Dyson Bladeless Portable Heaters, recalled on April 1, 2014
-Nest Labs Smoke/CO Alarms, recalled on May 21, 2014
The full list of recalled products that Home Depot sold and distributed to consumers was announced on November 18, 2015 by the CPSC and Home Depot. As part of the recent settlement, Home Depot will maintain a system of internal controls and procedures and a compliance program. The compliance program will ensure the appropriate disposal of recalled products as well as compliance with the CPSA.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Murray S. Eckell
During his first 15 years of practice, Murray engaged in the general practice of law, primarily litigating commercial and personal injury cases specializing in the trial of condemnation cases. His practice gradually became restricted primarily to the areas of real estate and commercial law, and administration of decedentsí and incompetentsí estates, and Housing Authority law.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.