Sears Settles Case with Federal Safety Officials

Oct 29, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Sears has agreed to pay $500,000 to settle allegations by federal safety officials that it failed to report known defects on its Craftsman riding lawnmowers.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said Sears knew of 1,600 cases of fuel tank cracking on some of its lawnmowers but did not report the defect as required under federal law.

The law requires companies to inform the CPSC within 24 hours of discovering any defects that may pose an injury risk to users.

According to The Washington Post, approximately 36,000 Craftsman rear-engine riding lawnmowers were recalled in 2003. The manufacturer of the machines, Murray Inc., has paid $375,000 to settle charges it was also late in notifying the CPSC about the defects.

Sears denies any wrongdoing as part of its settlement with the government.

Moderator’s Comment: Was Sears penny wise and pound foolish in its response to this case?

We’re always amazed when companies announce that as part of a settlement they get to deny any wrongdoing. Does Sears believe the consumers in the 1,600
documented cases where the fuel tanks of its lawnmowers were leaking make a distinction between Craftsman and the retailer? Craftsman is Sear’s brand.

George Anderson – Moderator

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