Ikea Fined Over CandlesNov 24, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a press release today announcing that IKEA North America Services, LLC has agreed to pay the government a $500,000 civil penalty involving defective outdoor candles. This, following a recall last week involving blinds also sold by IKEA.
The CPSC provisionally accepted the penalty, settling claims that IKEA neglected to report incidents about involving the candles in a timely manner. Apparently, the candles could unexpectedly flare up when consumers attempted to extinguish the IKEA candles by blowing them out. The CPSC announced that the IKEA candles pose fire and burn injury hazards to consumers. Federal Law requires manufacturers, distributors and retailers to report to the CPSC immediately after receiving information that reasonably supports that a product contains a defect and that that defect could create a substantial product hazard or create an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death. Although IKEA agreed to settle the allegations, it denies that it knowingly violated federal law.
The candles, which were made in Estonia, were sold by IKEA in the United States and internationally. About 133,000 six-pack sets of the outdoor candles were sold between February 2001 and July 2005 in the United States and IKEA sold another 1.3 million candle sets internationally. IKEA has received no less than 32 reports of the candles flaring up, in some cases, causing fire and scorching. There were also 12 reports of injuries that included burns that ranged from minor to severe. In May 2006, CPSC and IKEA announced the recall of the candles stating in a CPSC release that the recall involved the ANGAR (#200.301.24) and SAMLAS (#900.524.43) outdoor candles. The candle's container—which is approximately four inches wide by two inches high—is made of silver-colored metal and is filled with white wax. The candle's wick is about ½-inch square and made of brown fiberboard. The candle name and article number (#) can be found on instructions that accompanied the candles, which retailed for about $4.
The 2006 release advised consumers to immediately stop using the recalled candles and to return them to the nearest IKEA store's "Returns and Exchanges" department for a full refund. IKEA can be reached any time, toll-free at (888) 966-4532.
Last week we reported that the CPSC announced that defective window blinds were recalled following the death of one child, and the near strangulation of another. One recall involves Roman blinds sold at IKEA, while the other includes blackout roller shades and insulated Roman shades made by Green Mountain Vista Inc. of Vermont.
The CPSC is reminding consumers to examine all window blinds and shades in their homes. If looped pull cords are present or exposed inner cords are found on the back of blinds or shades, and children are in the home or occasionally visit the home, the CPSC said consumers should consider replacing them with blinds or shades that do not have exposed pull cords or inner cords. The CPSC reported that a one-year-old girl from Greenwich, Connecticut died this past April after she became entangled in the inner cord of an IKEA Roman Blind and strangled. The CPSC also reported that another two-year-old girl from Bristol, Connecticut nearly strangled this past June as a result of the recalled Green Mountain Vista shades.