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Costco to Pay $3.85 Fine for Covering-Up Defective Trash Cans

Friday, December 14, 2018By Richard Alexander and Nina Shapirshteyn

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently issued a press release about Costco agreeing to pay a $3.85 million civil penalty in a settlement regarding defective trash cans. The settlement settles charges that Costco knowingly failed to report to the CPSC, as required by law, that the EKO Sensible Eco Living Trash Cans (EKO Trash Cans) contained a defect or created an unreasonable risk of injury in a timely manner. These defective trash cans injured dozens of consumers prior to a recall being announced and conducted.

Defective Costco Trash Cans

The CPSC reports that the black plastic protective collar in the opening on the back of the EKO Trash Can receptacle can become dislodged and expose a sharp edge. This poses a laceration hazard to consumers using these trash cans. Costco reportedly received 92 complaints about these dangerous trash cans, and reports of at least 60 injuries, some of which were considered serious. The CPSC charged that Costco did not immediately notify the CPSC about the risk to consumers.

Costco Trash Can Recall

These trash cans were sold at Costco stores nationwide from December of 2013 to May of 2015. No information has been released about when the earliest reports of incidents and injuries involving these trash cans were made, but in July of 2015, the CPSC announced a recall with the EKO Trash Cans manufacturer. Approximately 367,000 EKO Trash Cans were recalled.

Moving Forward After a Civil Penalty

According to the CPSC, Costco has also agreed to maintain a compliance program designed to achieve compliance with the Consumer Product Safety Act. Additionally, they will also have a system of internal controls and procedures to ensure that Costco discloses information to the CPSC in accordance with applicable law. Finally, Costco is quick to point out that this settlement does not constitute an admission of the CPSC’s charges in this matter.

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