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Was the recall voluntary?

Maytag officials last week recalled 2.3 million of its dishwashers after they found out that the faulty appliances caused 135 fires and four injuries, according to an MSNBC news report.

The announcement generated so many calls to the company that it could not handle the volume, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The news report said faulty wiring in certain Maytag and Jenn-Air brand dishwashers led to a voluntary recall of the machines Thursday. The affected dishwashers were sold in department and appliances stores between July 1997 and June 2001 and were sold at prices between $370 and $800.

That said, consumers who were told to immediately unplug the machines and call Maytag to arrange for an in-home repair were met with messages to call back later, according to MSNBC. The article quotes Scott, Wolfson, a spokesman for CPSC, the federal agency responsible for protecting the public from defective products that can cause injuries or death.

“We are working very closely with Maytag to address some operational issues that the company is experiencing. It’s a positive sign that the company is receiving so many calls because we want consumers to be responsive to the announcement, but just as importantly, we want that remedy to be available to the consumers.”

According to the CPSC website, “Consumers are encouraged to visit to sign up for the free in-home repair or cash back reimbursement towards a new dishwasher.”

According to the company’s recall announcement, the machine’s liquid rinse-aid can leak from the dishwasher’s dispenser into internal wiring, which can then short-circuit and ignite. Of the four injuries reported from dishwasher fires, there were three reports of smoke inhalation and one serious hand laceration as the consumer was operating a fire extinguisher to put out a fire.

Thank you Maytag for cooperating with CPSC and making this “voluntary recall”. I hope it really was voluntary and not coerced by CPSC. These recalled diswashers were sold from 1997 to 2001 and are being recalled in 2007. I hope the reason for the time delay between them going into service to time of recall was that the dishwasher did not begin to fail until many years of service. The news articles I have read say nothing about when Maytag became aware of the problem. It does appear that Maytag did not take action at least until CPSC became involved.

Are you aware of a defective product? Contact U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and report it.

Been injured by a defective product, contact me.

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