The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) just announced that Perfect Fitness, of Sausalito, California, agreed to a $425,000 civil penalty. The Commission provisionally accepted the settlement agreement in a unanimous 5-to-0 vote.
The penalty agreement resolves staff allegations that Perfect Fitness knowingly failed to report to the Commission immediately, which is mandated under federal law, about a Perfect Pullup exercise equipment defect. The defect causes the handles of the Perfect Fitness equipment to break during use, which results in a fall hazard to consumers.
CPSC staff alleges that Perfect Fitness concluded in June 2008 that its exercise equipment was defective after it had conducted a retest of the handle design. The testing took place after the firm received a complaint and, according to the firm’s internal review, it saw an unusual number of product returns. Perfect Fitness redesigned the product to correct the defect in July 2008.
In agreeing to settle the matter, Perfect Fitness denies CPSC staff’s allegations that it knowingly violated the law.
CPSC staff alleges that Perfect Fitness was aware of at least 23 injuries linked to its defective product in March 2010 and that it followed up by posting a notice on its website to advise consumers they could receive replacement handles at no cost. CPSC staff also alleges that Perfect Fitness advised consumers that the original handles were “inferior” and could result in an “accident.”
The firm did not report the defect to CPSC until late that year in December 2010, at which time, CPSC staff alleges Perfect Fitness knew of at least 45 complaints of injury associated with the handles breaking and had received more than 2,000 requests for replacements.
In February 2011, the firm and CPSC announced a recall of about 7,000 Perfect Pullups. The original recall notice can be accessed on the CPSC website at: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml11/11136.html. At that time, the firm had also received 38 complaints of injuries that included bruises, strains, and sprains.
The defective, recalled Perfect Fitness exercise equipment sold for between $80 and $100 at sporting goods stores nationwide, on the firm’s website, on Amazon.com, and through direct television marketing from January 2008 through February 2011.
The Perfect Pullup, which was manufactured in China, is an adjustable height pull-up bar that is installed in a doorway with screw-in holders. The recalled handles have a rectangular shape, are silver colored with a red hook, and display the Perfect Pullup logo in white lettering across the top. The recalled models were manufactured between December 2007 and April 2008.
Federal law mandates manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to report to CPSC immediatelyâ€”within 24 hoursâ€”after obtaining information reasonably supporting the conclusion that a product contains a defect which could create a substantial product hazard, creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or violates any consumer product safety rule, or any other rule, regulation, standard, or ban enforced by the CPSC.