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Black & Decker Agrees to $960,000 Penalty Over Defective Weed Trimmer/Edgers
Aug 5, 2011
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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said Black & Decker (U.S.) agreed to pay a civil penalty of $960,000 to settle a CPSC allegation that it knowingly failed to immediately report, as required by law, several safety defects and hazards with the Grasshog XP Weed Trimmer/Edgers. CPSC staff also alleges the firm withheld information requested by CPSC staff during the course of the investigation.

While it did agree to the settlement, Black & Decker denied CPSC staff allegations that it knowingly violated the law.

Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors and retailers to report to CPSC immediately (within 24 hours) after obtaining information reasonably supporting the conclusion that a product contains a defect that could create a substantial product hazard, creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or fails to comply with any consumer product safety rule or any other rule, regulation, standard, or ban enforced by CPSC.

CPSC said the trimmer/edgers' spool, spool cap, and pieces of trimmer string can come loose during use and "become projectiles," posing a laceration hazard to the user and bystanders. The trimmer/edgers also can overheat and burn consumers. Black & Decker sold the Grasshog XP weed trimmers from November 2005 through spring 2007 for about $70.

CPSC staff alleges that Black & Decker knew on or before May 2006 that the high-powered, electric Grasshog XP GH1000 was defective and could cause harm, but failed to report this to CPSC.

CPSC staff also alleges that Black & Decker failed to provide full information about defects with the Grasshog XP as requested in May 2006. Based on the incomplete information provided at that time, CPSC closed the case. CPSC said the firm did not give CPSC staff full information about the extent of Grasshog XP defects or the mounting number of incidents and injuries until October 2006.

In July 2007, Black & Decker and CPSC announced the recall of about 200,000 Grasshog XP model GH1000 trimmer/edgers. By that time, CPSC said there were more than 700 reports of incidents, including 58 injuries, with the Grasshog XP.

The recall was re-announced in August 2009, after an additional 100 injuries were reported.

CPSC urges consumers with recalled Grasshog XP trimmer/edgers to contact Black & Decker for a free repair kit. More information is on the CPSC web site at:

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml11/11295.html

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