May 28, 2015 — Office Depot has been ordered (PDF) to pay $3.4 million for failing to report defect on over 1.5 million office chairs linked to 38 injuries, according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC).
Between May 2006 and August 2009, Office Depot sold approximately 150,000 Quantum Realspace PRO 9000 Series Mid-Back Multifunction Mesh Chairs, with and without headrests.
In 2007, a consumer contacted Office Depot to report that they were injured when the seat-back loosened or detached on the Quantum office chair. In 2008, Office Depot learned that the manufacturer made two design changes to prevent the problem. By 2009, another 33 reports of seat-back loosening and 13 injuries were received by Office Depot.
Meanwhile, between 2003 and 2012, Office Depot sold about 1.4 million Gibson Leather Task Chairs. In 2005, a consumer reported that the seat broke and separated from the base, resulting in injuries. In total, 25 reports of injuries and 153 incidents involving seats breaking and separating were reported to Office Depot. However, the CPSC was not informed.
These problems were not reported to the CPSC. The Gibson chairs were not recalled until May 22, 2014. The Quantum chairs were not recalled until October 2009.
Federal law requires companies to report possible safety defects to the CPSC within 24 hours of receiving an injury report. The agency said Office Depot never reported defects with the Quantum chair, but did report issues with the Gibson chair after being asked by the CPSC.
In addition to paying the settlement, Office Depot has agreed to participate in a program designed to ensure compliance with the Consumer Product Safety Act. The program must include controls and procedures designed to facilitate communication of safety defects to the agency.
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