It is not often that a homeowner panics when he or she thinks they left the refrigerator on. Many household appliances are meant to operate quietly and continuously while residents go about their day. A dehumidifier hums softly in a dark, damp corner of the house often while a family is asleep. Consumers trust this relatively simple device to be safe without putting too much thought into the machine when it is in use. However, recent developments in a large-scale dehumidifier recall may force homeowners to reconsider an appliance once thought to be completely safe.
Dehumidifiers manufactured by the Chinese company Gree Electric Appliances Inc. are being recalled due to their tendency to catch on fire. Though no serious injuries have been reported yet, numerous fires and property damage reports are starting to pour in. The purpose of the device is to remove water and moisture from the air in damp places, and they are usually left on all day unattended. The appliance, which is manufactured by Gree but sold under many different names, was originally tested and endorsed by Consumer Reports. Upon hearing of the widespread issues with the product, the trusted magazine quickly de-listed it and recalled its ratings.
One of the suppliers of the dehumidifier, Soleus, reported the issue to Gree and sent out a notice to retailers to stop selling the product. Soleus also reported the defects to regulatory authorities. Consumers began reporting problems with the appliances in late 2012, so the company began submitting the products through independent testing. Researchers found that there was a manufacturing defect, and substandard materials were used. Soleus stopped selling the products in 2012, almost a full year prior to the recall, and reported the findings to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Instead of heeding the supplier’s warning, Gree allegedly retaliated against Soleus. According to LawyersandSettlements.com, the manufacturer struck back by “shutting down production, increasing prices, and undertaking various other retaliatory measures that made corporate life difficult for Soleus and caused the company to lose market share.” As a result, Soleus filed a $150 million lawsuit against Gree for manufacturing defective appliances and retaliatory acts. Consumers who suffered losses as a result of purchasing and using the dehumidifier are also planning to file a lawsuit.
Also according to LawyersandSettlements.com, “The CPSC reported 325 incidents concerning the initial recall, resulting in 71 fires and some $2 million in property damage. The expanded recall…involved 11 reports of overheating without property damage, and five reported fires that resulted in $430,000 in property damage.” The fumes from the burning plastic can be toxic and harmful to breathe.
Other Brands Manufactured by Gree
• Fedders • Fellini • Frigidaire
• Gree • Kenmore • Norpole • Premiere • Seabreeze • SoleusAir
For a product that is intended to be used primarily without supervision, the fire hazard demonstrated by these dehumidifiers is unacceptable. Sloppy manufacturing and substandard materials make this an extreme danger to consumers. Property damage and injuries can result from the use of the defect appliances, and anyone who has suffered a loss as a result of a device manufactured by Gree is urged to seek legal help.
At Altman & Altman LLP, our seasoned Products Liability Attorneys have nearly 50 years of knowledge and experience successfully defective products and products liability cases. If you or a loved one was injured as a result of a dehumidifier that caused a fire, call our office today to speak to an attorney to discuss your legal options and whether you might qualify for a products liability claim. All initial consultations are completely free of charge and of no obligation to you. Our team of lawyers is always available to answer any and all questions you may have about your case.
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