This week the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall notice, "in cooperation" with the manufacturer, of a hand-held electric hair dryer sold at Big Lots Stores in America. The Chinese hand-held Cool Shot Turbo Hair Dryer purportedly manufactured by "Style elements Hair Dryers" is being recalled for one simple reason, it does not have an American industry required immersion shock interruptor. This safety device prevents electrocution if the dryer falls into water. Such an event could cause immediate death.
This sleek and fancy looking hand held hair dryer is representative of what appears to be a growing trend in products coming from China and other Asian manufacturers. It has the appearance of a well made and "modern" product. But in its production, either through reverse engineering or complete lack of foresight, the manufacturer fails to include a cheap safety device uniformly added by American manufacturers. That safety device could prevent the death of a user, or a mis-user such as a young child.
I have noticed the same type of manufacturing practice in the field of ATVs recently. Many small "Motor Shops" seem to be appearing everywhere with loads of fancy and colorful ATVs for "all sizes" featured. The ATVs do not have any known brand name, and are offered at prices well below brand prices. The problem is that if they break during operation, there is little, if any, recourse. One client had a wheel spindle break, causing the ATV to roll several times, and causing injury. The distributor of the vehicle would only agree to replace the spindle. They weren’t even interested in the cause of the failure.
I have said this many times, concerning many different products, but until there is a real potential for product liability responsibility at every level of the stream of commerce, from the manufacturer to the shipper, to the distributor to the retailer, or anyone else involved in getting the product to market, we are going to be continually inundated by these foreign manufactures with defective products which injure, without any recourse. It’s enough to make you want to pull your hair out!