Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Is Money More Important than Consumer Safety?

Is Money more Important than Consumer Safety?
Product Liability has become an issue within the past two decades. The reason for an increase in product liability cases is because the government is holding companies responsible with new laws and regulations for companies to abide by before they release the product to the public. Before the 1970s, companies were not held to the standards they are now and therefore product liability is generally a new concept. It is very important that companies produce products that are safe for humans-beings and for the environment. People have been known to take advantage of product liability in courts. The example I have chosen to write about is a defect dryer that caused deadly fires. In 2006 there were 17,700 home fires involving dryers and/or washing machines. (92% Dryers). Consumers should not have to worry about their dryer trying to kill them. In this case the dryer was collecting lint in an area that the consumer could not see nor clean. Studies show that the 1/10 of a gram of lint coming into contact with the heating coils ignited the fire. This is the importance of Product liability. Clearly, this is a defective consumer product effecting thousands of people. There were 15 deaths and 360 injuries. The process of product liability enhances safety. Safety comes at a price, how can a dryer in the 21st century be a fire causing death trap?  
Tort reform is still needed. There is no question that companies will make decisions with their pocket book rather than the consumer in mind. The Ford Pinto in finally issued a recall in 1977 because the gas tank ruptured when it was hit from the rear causing a violent explosion. It took Ford Motor Company a long time to issue the recall. Ford already invested a hefty cost into the pinto. 200 million dollars was invested in the tooling of the pinto. This amount was enough for the company to put the car into full production because they wanted to get a return on their investment immediately. They knew it was a poor design, with the poor crash results and they knew the gas tank was poorly designed which should have triggered a redesign. Ford Motor Company made a conscience decision to put the Pinto into production with unsafe qualities to save a few dollars. This is a classic example of why Product liability is imperative to the consumers benefit and how companies favor money over consumer safety.

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