BMW Recalls Vehicles for Gearbox Defects

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BMW has recalled about 2,500 of its M3 vehicles from the 2008-2009 model years with an optional double clutch transmission. Apparently, these vehicles have a defect involving the double clutch gearbox. During quick deceleration the transmission software may perform “a multistage downshift,” which means the vehicle’s engine could stall at low speeds, increasing the risk of a crash. Our source for this blog is an article on

Dealers will reprogram the engine and transmission electronic control unit free of charge. The recall began earlier this month. Owners with questions are asked to call BMW at 1-800-831-1117. Consumers may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at 1-888-327-4236 or visit NHTSA’s Web site at

IKEA Fined $500,000 for Failure to Report Defective Candles

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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has imposed a $500,000 civil penalty on retail giant IKEA, alleging that the company failed to report incidents about its defective outdoor candles. According to this CPSC news release, IKEA did not promptly report to the government that the outdoor candles they sold could suddenly flare up and pose a serious risk of fire and burn injuries to consumers when they attempted to blow out the candles.

IKEA sold about 133,000 six-packs of outdoor candles in the United States between February 2001 and July 2005. IKEA also sold an additional 1.3 million candles internationally. In the four years that these defective products were sold IKEA received at least 32 reports worldwide of unexpected flare-ups and 12 reported injuries ranging from minor to serious burns.

It wasn’t until May 2006 that the CPSC and IKEA announced the recall of these defective candles. The company has agreed to pay a $500,000 civil penalty. What this penalty does is “settle allegations” that the company failed to report these serious incidents. It does not mean that IKEA accepts any fault or blame for not reporting the injuries and incidents. In fact, it denies that it “knowingly violated federal law.”

Honda Recalls Vehicles with Defective Airbags

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Honda is recalling about 4,000 of its 2001 Accord and Civic vehicles for reported airbag defects. According to this article on, the airbag inflator in these vehicles could produce excessive internal pressure, possibly causing it to rupture upon deployment. This rupture or tearing of the airbag could cause metal pieces to pass through the airbag cushion materials resulting in possible injuries.

This recall is expected to begin in late December. Consumers who own the affected vehicles are asked to take them to a dealership, who will replace the inflator free of charge. Consumers who require more information are asked to call Honda at 1-800-999-1009 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at 1-888-327-4236 or visit NHTSA’s Web site.

10 Worst Toys to Avoid This Christmas


A group of consumer advocates called World Against Toys Causing Harm (W.A.T.C.H) has released a list of “10 Worst Toys” that they are asking consumers to watch out for this holiday season. To see the group’s complete report, please visit this Web site.

This list apparently represents toys with the potential to cause children serious injuries or even death. This year’s list includes popular brand names such as “Spider-Man,” “Winnie the Pooh” and “Digger the Dog.” Here is a brief list and description of these defective and dangerous products:

1. Sportsman Shotgun: This realistic weapon is sold online as a toy for children 3 years and older. It uses rubber bullets, but it is certainly not a toy and should not be used by children. This shotgun has the potential to cause serious facial and eye injuries.
2. Go Go Minis Pullback Vehicle: These miniature fire trucks, garbage trucks and school buses present serious choking hazards for young children.
3. Inflatable Giga Ball: Children are encouraged to crawl inside this inflatable ball which can then be spun, bounced and tumbled. Obviously this toy has potential for serious fall injuries.
4. Animal Alley Purse Pet: This soft colorful pony has soft fiber hairs that are not properly attached, which could cause ingestion or aspiration injuries.
5. Spider-Man Adjustable Skates: Package warning encourages a range of protective gear, but includes only knee and elbow pads.
6. Pucci Puppies — My Own Puppy House Golden Retriever: Small accessories such as little toy bones, toy cookies and miniature dog toys present a serious choking hazard for young children.
7. Walk’N Sounds Digger Dog: The toy industry has a voluntary standard requiring strings on playpen or crib toys to be less than 12 inches in length. This one has a cord measuring up to 26 inches. Certainly hazardous to infants.
8. Meadow Mystery Play-A-Sound Book with Cuddly Pooh: Once removed, Pooh’s cloth mask poses a choking hazard to babies.
9. Extreme Spiral Copters: Includes a projectile and an elastic band and works like a slingshot. This toy has the potential for facial and eye injuries.
10. Ninja Battle Gear – Michelangelo: Has “weapons” such as nunchaku that could cause injuries

Please avoid these toys this holiday season. It appears that some of these toys are inherently defective while others do not have the appropriate warnings on the packaging. If your child has suffered a serious injury or worse as a result of a dangerous or defective toy, I’d like to hear about it.

Strangulation Hazard Prompts Recall of IKEA’s Roman Blinds

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IKEA Home Furnishings issued a voluntary recall of its IRIS and ALVINE Roman blinds after the strangulation death of a child. According to a product safety alert issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, IKEA is recalling about 670,000 units in the United States. Close to 5 million units were sold outside the United States.

Officials say strangulations can occur when a child places his or her neck in an exposed inner cord on the back side of the Roman blinds. A 1-year-old girl in Greenwich, Connecticut, died on April 4, 2008 after she became entangled in the inner cord of an IKEA Roman blind and was strangled. The little girl was apparently playing in a portable playpen that was placed under a fully lowered blind.

The recalled products include all sizes of the IRIS and ALVINE Roman blinds in white. The products, manufactured in India, have a sewn-in label at the top edge of the blind with the IKEA logotype, article name, a five-digit supplier number (19799 or 21369) and a four-digit stamp as well as the words “Made in India.” These dangerous and defective products were sold in IKEA stores nationwide from July 2005 through June 2008 for between $7 and $30.

Contaminated Lean Cuisine Chicken Dinners Recalled


Nestle Prepared Foods Company, based in Springville, Utah, is recalling about 879,565 pounds of Lean Cuisine brand frozen chicken meals that may contain pieces of blue plastic, according to an U.S. Department of Agriculture alert. The products subject to this recall include:

• 9.5-ounce packages of Lean Cuisine Pesto Chicken with Bow Tie Pasta
• 10.5-ounce packages of Lean Cuisine Chicken Mediterranean
• 12.5-ounce packages of Lean Cuisine Chicken Tuscan

Each package also bears the USDA mark of inspection as well as the establishment number “ESTP-9018.” The frozen chicken meals were manufactured between Aug. 18 and Oct. 27 and were distributed to retail stores nationwide. The problem surfaced after the company received several consumer complaints and a report of one injury as a result of the hard plastic pieces in the frozen chicken dinners. Consumers with questions about this recall are asked to call Nestle Consumer Services Center at 1-800-227-6188. You may also contact the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline toll-free at 1-888-674-6854. Information is available in English and Spanish.

Defective GE Wall Ovens Recalled

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General Electric is recalling about 244,000 defective GE Profile, Kenmore and Monogram wall ovens. The defective wall ovens could pose a risk of fire and burn injuries to consumers, according to this news report on The high level of heat used during the self-clean cycle can escape if the wall oven door is removed and incorrectly reattached by the installer or the consumer. This can result in a fire injury hazard to consumers.

GE has issued the product recall in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which has also issued a consumer alert about these defective GE wall ovens. A complete list of the recalled models is also listed in this consumer alert. CPSC reports that so far it has not received any reports of personal injury. Although there have already been 28 incident reports of property damage in which adjacent kitchen cabinets were burned or damaged.

More Yamaha Rhino Injury Victims Sue Alleging Serious Design Flaws

1 Comment more lawsuits have been filed in connection with injuries suffered as a result of the Yamaha Rhino utility terrain vehicle or UTV, according to a November 11, 2008 news report on this Web site. Both lawsuits allege that the Yamaha Rhino contains multiple design flaws that make it unstable and prone to tipping and rolling over, causing catastrophic injuries and in many cases, death. Earlier this month, federal safety officials announced that they are investigating the Yamaha Rhino, which has been linked to 30 deaths so far and has been the target of at least 200 product liability lawsuits.

The U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has not set safety standards for vehicle such as the Rhino, which has been categorized as a utility terrain vehicle. All-terrain vehicles or ATVs on the other hand, are subject to safety standards. UTVs are different from ATVs in that they have a steering wheel as opposed to handlebars. Critics of the Yamaha Rhino say this particular vehicle is more prone to rollover accidents than other off-road vehicles because of its defective design. It is top-heavy and has tires that are very narrow which makes it prone to tipping over, even when the vehicle is making a turn at low speeds. The Rhino is also designed in such a manner that passengers’ legs are unprotected in the event of a rollover crash.

Defective Honda Off-Road Motorcycles Recalled

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American Honda Motor Company has recalled about 13,000 off-road competition motorcycles for a defective weld on the right side of the swing arm, according to this news report on This flaw could cause the rider to lose control of the motorcycle. These defective vehicles pose a risk of serious injury or death to riders. So far, Honda has received two reports of the swing arms cracking. Company officials say no injuries or deaths have been reported yet.

This product recall apparently involves model year 2007-2008 Honda CRF150/RB motocross competition motorcycles. These vehicles were manufactured in Japan and sold by Honda motorcycle dealers nationwide from September 2006 through October 2008 for between $4,300 and $4,400. Consumers who own one of these defective vehicles are asked to stop using them immediately and contact any Honda dealer to schedule a free repair. Registered owners of these recalled motorcycles can soon expect a direct recall notice in the mail. Those who want more information are asked to call Honda toll-free at 866-784-1870 or visit the company’s Web site at

Aging and Defective Tires Pose Significant Risks to Consumers

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More and more deaths and injuries are being caused by old tires that are being sold as new in major retail outlets, according to an investigative report by WMC-TV in Memphis, Tennessee. Two lawsuits were filed recently in that state and both involve an August 2007 SUV rollover accident in Arkansas.

Teresa Taylor was driving her 1997 Mercury Mountaineer westbound on Interstate 40 near West Memphis when the tread on her rear driver’s side tire, which she had purchased from a Sears Auto Center just a year ago, peeled off. Taylor lost control of her sport utility vehicle, which skidded across the median and rolled over. This tragic accident killed Teresa Taylor’s 15-year-old cousin, Tevin Pettis, who was a passenger in her vehicle. Investigators found that the tire had a U.S. Department of Transportation code: 2102, which meant that the tire in question was four years old when it was sold as “new” to Taylor.

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