GE to Pay $3.5 Million for Delayed Appliance Recalls

GE Outlook
Paul Sakuma/APA General Electric dishwasher on display a California appliance store in 2008.
General Electric (GE) will pay a $3.5 million penalty after being accused of knowingly failing to report to the government that certain dishwashers and ranges could catch fire, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said.

The agency said the failure to report the product hazards when GE first learned of them delayed recalls potentially by years.

The products at issue include the company's Profile freestanding dual-fuel ranges and Profile and Monogram dishwashers. In 2009 GE recalled 28,000 of the ranges, which were sold from 2002 to 2005 for $1,300 to $2,000, because the wiring could overheat and catch fire.

GE knew of 13 incidents involving the ranges, including five fires, and was aware of the problem by 2004. Companies are required by law to immediately report any hazard or defect that could pose a serious risk to consumers.

In 2010, GE recalled 174,000 dishwashers that had been sold over the prior seven years for $750 to $1,400 after the company received reports of the appliances catching fire. The company, the CPSC said, knew of the fire problem as much as three years before it recalled the dishwashers.

On top of the penalty, GE agreed to implement a series of internal changes intended to avoid similar delays in reporting problems with products.

Although the company agreed to the changes and to pay the penalty, General Electric "did not admit to CPSC staff's charges that its ranges or dishwashers contained a defect which could create a substantial product hazard or created an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or that the company failed to notify the Commission in a timely manner, in accordance with the reporting requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Act."
Read Full Story