Kidde purposely ignored the shortcomings of its products, say consumer advocates.
Kidde has faced multiple consumer lawsuits because of its defective fire extinguishers. More than four million of them were recalled in 2015. In December, the Department of Justice (DOJ) partnered with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to file a new complaint against the company for failing to notify the CPSC in a timely manner of the continued issuance of the product.
In its lawsuit, the DOJ alleged: “Prior to the 2015 recall, Kidde significantly underestimated the scope and nature of the defect and risk, as well as the number of products and models affected. After the CPSC learned of the enormous situation in late 2017, Kidde issued another recall that affected nearly 38 million fire extinguishers in the US and was manufactured as early as 1973. “
Carrier Global, the parent company of Kidde, reported gross profits of $ 18.6 billion in 2019, and the company agreed to pay a fine of $ 12 million in January. The problem is that while an agreement was reached, the underlying problem of disguising defects found in a product designed to save life has not been addressed.
Photo by Max Kukurudziak on Unsplash
“These are serious violations of key CPSC rules and policies,” said Rachel Weintraub, legislative director and general counsel for the Consumer Federation of America.
As early as 2015, a federal judge ruled that a “sensible jury” could find that Kidde was ruthlessly indifferent to the safety of its customers. Complaints filed with the CPSC quoted: “Additionally, the company has seriously abused the recall process.” Oriene Shin, Consumer Report’s Product Safety Policy Counsel, said, “It’s bad enough that Kidde’s faulty fire extinguishers have put people at risk for decades, but it’s downright appalling to learn how Kidde dealt with the problem after he discovered it. The company’s repeated outages, delays and alleged misrepresentations are outrageous. “
There are numerous court documents alleging similar violations across the country. According to records, in the early 1990s, Wisconsin residents claimed their home was damaged after a Kidde fire extinguisher failed to put out a wood-burning stove. In 2002, an Arkansas resident said his farm equipment was destroyed for the same reason, and in 2005 a Californian woman said she suffered “life-changing injuries from a fire that started in her vehicle that a kidde will not put out could fire extinguishers. “
The company defended itself against these allegations by stating in a 2015 court note: “Fire extinguishers, like many other products, are designed to be as easy to use as possible because of their usefulness, but they can be misused – especially those that are emotionally intense Situation of a fire. “However, consumer advocates would argue that these products should be reliable and easy to use in emergency situations.
“Consumers cannot help but trust that a product for sale is safe and that manufacturers and retailers are expected to deliver on that promise,” said R. David Pittle, former CR technical director and one of Die first CPSC commissioners when the agency was founded in the early 1970s. “Manufacturers need to know and react quickly if problems arise. It is important to learn how consumers experience the product. In general, the corrective potential of the information is lost if the person in charge of the quality control function is not looped in to obtain copies of consumer complaints. It’s like flying blind. “
Kidde has mistreated problems with his fire extinguishers for years as houses burned and injuries increased
Fire extinguisher manufacturers fined $ 12 million for delays and misrepresentation in reporting product defects