Businessweek reported that Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. is under investigation for failing to report a toy defect. The company allegedly took almost two years to confirm reports of poorly constructed toys and remove the products from the shelves. Although the first report came to Build-A-Bear Workshop’s attention in July 2007, the company did not report the injuries to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) or recall the item until March 2009. The government requires all manufacturers, distributors and stores to report defective products that may cause injury or death to consumers within 24 hours after they obtain enough information to support the claim. At the same time, the company is facing several newer recalls.
Build-A-Bear Workshop Must Pay $600,000 Penalty
Due to the allegations that Build-A-Bear Workshop failed to report the risk of injuries in a timely manner, the company must pay a civil penalty of $600,000. The toy in question is a beach chair sold in stores and online from March 2001 and October 2008. The chair is allegedly fitted with sharp edges on the wooden frame. There is a serious risk for pinching of fingers, laceration and even amputation if a child’s small finger is caught as the chair folds. The company eventually recalled roughly 260,000 chairs. Build-A-Bear Workshop maintains it was not aware of any injuries until more than 200,000 units of the product had already been sold, mainly during late 2008 and early 2009.
Build-A-Bear Workshop Issues Three Recalls in 2011
Earlier in 2011, Build-A-Bear Workshop recalled an inflatable inner tube that poses a strangulation risk if children pull it over their heads. The company received only one report of a 3-year-old girl who had difficulty removing the product. The tube cost $12.50 and was part of a three-piece swimwear set, available between April 2011 and August 2011.
After the tube issue was resolved, Build-A-Bear Workshop recalled a “Love.Hugs.Peace” pin because the paint used on the pin contained a significant amount of lead. While Build-A-Bear Workshop initially defended the product, it eventually removed it from the market after a consumer health advocacy group raised concerns.
Local news website stltoday.com reported that Build-A-Bear Workshop faced a third recall in 2011. The company pulled its “Colorful Hearts Teddy Bears” from the shelves because the eyes of the bear could fall out and pose a significant choking hazard to small children. Although there have been no reported injuries, Build-A-Bear Workshop did not take chances that time. The company has recalled 297,200 bears. Build-A-Bear maintains the bear passed all safety and health inspections. Unlike the reporting issue with the beach chair, as soon as Build-A-Bear Workshop knew there was a problem, the company immediately reported its concerns to the CPSC.
What You Can Do
If you have purchased a defective product, Build-A-Bear Workshop advises you to return the item to any Build-A-Bear retailer. You will receive a coupon that you can use to purchase another stuffed animal of your choice, depending on the store’s availability. If you or your child were injured from a defective toy, contact our attorneys or a free consultation. The time to file a claim is limited, so contact us soon to evaluate your case.