GE agrees to big fine after delay in reporting defects

(Photo from Consumer Product Safety Commission)

(WPRI) — General Electric has agreed to a $3.5 million civil penalty for failing to report defective ranges and dishwashers.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the fine Thursday in connection with recalls from 2009 and 2010 of ranges and dishwashers.

GE had received notice of hazards with a model of dual fuel range back in 2004, but didn’t report the hazards to the CPSC until February 2009, and didn’t recall the 28,000 ranges until April of that year. GE had gotten thirteen reports of harness and wiring overheating in the back of the range, including five fires.

On various models of Profile and Monogram dishwashers made by GE, the company had known of a problem as early as 2007, but did not report the hazard until September 2010. The dishwashers can short circuit from condensation building up on the control board, which poses fire and burn hazards. The company recalled the 174,000 dishwashers later in 2010.

Federal law requires manufacturers to report immediately to the CPSC after obtaining a report of a possible defect.

In agreeing to the $3.5 million civil penalty, GE did not admit to CPSC that its products in fact contained a defect or that it failed to notify people in a timely manner.

GE sold the ranges nationwide between June 2002 and December 2005. The dishwashers were sold between July 2003 and October 2010, and the company has paid out settlements to consumers in that case.

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