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IKEA Candles Defective, Consumers Get Burned

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Washington, DCProduct liability is something that every manufacturer, and every retailer has to keep top-of-mind, especially during the Christmas season. Defective product personal injury is one of the worst kinds of injury: you didn't bring it on yourself, and you trusted a product that should not have been defective. Worse, maybe you got it as a gift. Sad but true, the typical defective products injury attorney is always busy after the holidays.

CandleThink of all those people who gave, or were given defective IKEA outdoor candles. The giant Swedish retailer had sold 1.3 million candles internationally between 2001 and 2005, not to mention 133,000 six-packs of the desirable outdoor candles in the US within that four-year window. Desirable yes, but also defective. The candles were found to have a tendency to flare up without notice. To that end there were 32 reports worldwide of unexpected flare-ups, which could damage property and possessions, together with 12 injuries reported, ranging from minor heat irritation to rather serious burns.

However, it wasn't until nearly a year later that IKEA, in tandem with the US Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) finally recalled the defective candles. For its part the CPSC slapped a $500,000 fine against the manufacturer for failing to report the defective products, or information with regard to injuries that it was privy to.

A manufacturer has the legal obligation to report, immediately, any problem or injury relating to one of its products, to the CPSC. The fact that IKEA allegedly dragged its heels for a year is apparent, but not proven. The fine levied against the manufacturer by the CPSC was meant to settle allegations related to the non-reporting. However, no admission of guilt was ever forthcoming from IKEA.

Any individual injured by an outdoor candle manufacturer by IKEA, may want to keep that little tidbit in mind. Especially any individual who has incurred medical bills from their injury.

As for the holiday buying season, it's a big question mark this year for retailers. If Americans are spending at all, they're cutting back. And what they ARE buying, is carefully thought out.

Consumers who want to avoid defective product personal injury over the holidays want to watch out for toys manufactured in China that appear to have a painted surface. The toy could contain lead. According to consumer advocates, your best bet is to stick with name brands you know—there is less of a chance of potential product liability, than with a name you don't—and think twice about dollar stores. It has been reported that their inventories consist of cheaper, imported toys.

Avoid buying toys that contain bisphenol A, or toys which are manufactured with polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The latter often includes phthalates.

It should be noted that a sweeping toy safety bill passed by Congress this past August will not be in force until February 10th of next year, and even then there may be risks. For example, toys containing dangerous chemicals such as lead may be marked down to get them off the shelves—taking advantage of an increasingly cost-conscious consumer.

While toys containing lead need to be off store shelves by February 10th, such is not the case with toys containing phthalates. Provided they were manufactured before February 10th 2009, they can stay on the shelves indefinitely.

Thus, Merry Christmas and Buyer Beware. Good luck with product liability, and let's hope for a safe and happy holiday without the sting of defective product personal injury.
However, better keep the number of that defective products injury attorney close by, just in case.


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