HSN, formerly known as Home Shopping Network, will pay a $16 million fine for waiting years to disclose a dangerous defect in millions of clothes steamers despite receiving reports of dozens of injuries and numerous customer complaints, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced on Wednesday.
The St. Petersburg, Florida-based company agreed to settle charges that it failed to immediately report to the CPSC that 5.4 million Joy Mangano-brand “My Little Steamer” and “My Little Steamer Go Mini” products were defective and posed an “unreasonable risk of serious injury,” the agency stated.
By the end of 2012 and continuing into 2019, HSN had received enough information to know the products were unsafe, according to safety regulators. By the time HSN filed an initial report, it had received about 400 complaints of the steamers spraying hot water, another 700 reports of leaks, at least 91 reports of injury and 29 insurance claims alleging serious injuries, including burns, scarring and partial hearing loss, the CPSC said.
In addition, from HSN online reviews the company knew of roughly 500 complaints of the steamers expelling hot water and another 150 complaints of leaks, including 87 reports of injury, the agency noted.
In recalling the, HSN had received 227 reports of hot water spraying or leaking, with 106 related burn injuries. The recalled products were sold on HSN television network as well as online and in stores nationwide.
“HSN, a multi-billion dollar corporation with vast resources, let at least seven years elapse before fulfilling its obligation to tell the commission what it new about this serious and ongoing risk,” CPSC Commissioner Mary Boyle said in a statement.
In a statement to CBS MoneyWatch, HSN said the health and safety of its customers remains a “top priority.
“HSN voluntarily recalled the garment steamers in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and has worked cooperatively with the agency throughout this matter,” the company added.