Federal consumer safety officials report that Viking Range has agreed to pay $4.65 million in civil penalties to resolve charges that it failed to report serious problems with some of its gas ranges.Â
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a press release on April 13, announcing that it has voted to accept a Viking Range settlement agreement (PDF), which resolves charges that the oven manufacturer failed to properly report problems with gas ranges that resulted in burns and property damage.
In May 2015, Viking announced a gas range recall following at least 75 reports of the stoves’ burners turning on by themselves when the control knobs were set to the “off” position.
The recall affected about 60,000 ovens in the U.S. and Canada, and were linked to at least three burn injuries and four reports of property damage. However, according to the U.S. CPSC, an investigation revealed that Viking received about 170 incident reports from 2008 to 2014 on the same problem, but failed to report those complaints to the CPSC.
“The reported incidents included two consumers who were unable to turn off the range using the controls and were burned while attempting to disconnect the power source. Viking also received five reports that the ranges had turned on spontaneously and caused property damage to the area surrounding the range,” the CPSC noted. “Several consumers called 911 for assistance when they discovered that the ranges had turned on spontaneously and could not be turned off or disconnected. Viking knew of this information, but failed to notify CPSC immediately of the defect or risk posed by the ranges, as required by federal law.”
The CPSC found that Viking collected and tested some ranges and developed a repair, then issued a number of engineering change orders and technical bulletins that detailed how to fix the problem, but despite this did not warn the CPSC until July 2014. It would be another year before the devices were pulled from the market.
The settlement agreement includes a $4.65 million civil penalty, an agreement to initiate an enhanced compliance program as well as new internal controls and procedures. The CPSC agreed to accept the terms of the settlement in a 4-1 vote, with one member voting to accept a lower penalty fee.
The settlement agreement did not include an admission of guilt.