General Electric is recalling about 2.5 million dishwashers because of a fire hazard. Company officials said last week that the liquid rinse-aid in the dishwasher can leak from its dispenser on to the dishwasher’s internal wiring thereby causing an electrical short and overheating, posing a fire hazard.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, GE has received 191 reports of overheated wiring including 56 reports of property damage. There were 12 reports of fires that escaped the dishwasher. Damage was however limited to the dishwasher and the adjacent area. No injuries have been reported involving the defective products.
This recall includes GE built-in dishwashers sold under the following brand names: Eterna, GE, GE Profile, GE Monogram, Hotpoint, and Sears-Kenmore. These dishwashers were reportedly sold at department and appliance stores from September 1997 through December 2001 for about $400. Company officials ask that consumers immediately stop using the recalled dishwashers and contact General Electric for a free repair, a $150 rebate towards the purchase of a new GE dishwasher, or a $300 rebate towards the purchase of a new GE Profile or GE Monogram dishwasher. For additional information, contact General Electric toll-free at (877) 607-6395 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET Monday through Saturday. Consumers also can visit GE’s Website.
According to the consumer watchdog website, GE has learned from a previous recall in 1999 involving 3.1 million dishwashers. That recall came about after at least 50 fires were blamed on the combusting cleaners. But the Website reports that instead of offering to do repairs on the defective machines, GE gave consumers $75 rebates toward the purchase of a new dishwasher. Needless to say, millions of consumers felt cheated. It was a recall that benefited not customers, but GE. The recall culminated with then New York Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer, who successfully sued General Electric for $1.4 million in 2003.
Consumers Union, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, noted the difference in the way General Electric handled the latest recall, but said the company could have done more. Sally Greenburg, senior product safety counsel for the group says the CPSC should urge companies to offer additional incentives to repair the dangerous dishwasher such as a general gift certificate for $50 or $75, not just for a GE product. She says that would get people to respond to the recall more effectively and act as a motivation for companies to take more care in putting products in the marketplace before they are properly tested.
To make a defective product is an embarrassment. To make a profit on a defective product recall is shameless and brazen. It’s a good sign that GE officials have learned from their prior experiences. But as consumer advocates put it, our corporations have a long way to go. If you have been injured by a defective product, call Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys at 1-800-259-6373 for a free consultation.