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Here on our Consumer Alert page is where we will tell you about consumer alerts, breaking news affecting your money and the merchandise you buy, and this is where we will list product recalls.  Check back often for updates.  And see our "Consumer Watch" page for other consumer information.

ABOUT THAT BAHAMA CRUISE VACATION WITH A TRIP TO FLORIDA 

Update February 7, 2017  I finally decided to listen to one of those sales calls about the "great deal" on a Florida vacation with a cruise to the Bahamas. This package deal certainly sounded attractive. It was a nine day package including airfare and a cruise and stay at a resort in the Bahamas and then I'd get my choice of staying at hotels in Orlando or Ft. Lauderdale. It all sounded good -- including the price -- which was about $875 per person. Then the red flags started to wave.

The giant red flag was that I had to purchase the vacation package immediately, on the phone, and I had no time to think about it. Could something be sent to me in the mail? No, I was told, but they could email me the details so I could look at them so I could pay with a major credit card during that phone call. Could I call them back later while I considered what they emailed me? No, I was told, because as soon as the call ended the deal went away.

So I asked "what if I couldn't go on the trip?" I was told I had 18 months to schedule the trip. "But what if I couldn't go -- period -- can I get a refund?" Here's what made me hang up: the sales person told me "we could try to resell your package to someone else." 

WHY THERE ARE SO MANY BOGUS TICKETS AND TRAFFIC FINES ON TOLL ROADS

Update March 11, 2016  A lot of our freeways and highways now have car pool lanes and special low-traffic lanes for motorists who buy permits. To drive in some of the special lanes you need to have a transponder which is usually mounted on your dashboard and sends a signal to a monitoring device. The monitoring device would verify your subscription to the special lane program or it might debit your credit card or account balance.

Sometimes a car without a transponder will drive in these special lanes and then at the monitoring point a photograph of the car and its license plates or tags is taken. That photo is used to send a bill or a ticket to the offender for driving in the special lane without a permit. Sometimes the system takes a photo of the car with a bonafide transponder because the transponder malfunctioned. Perhaps the battery was low on the transponder and it didn't send a signal to the monitoring device. Perhaps the transponder was not properly mounted on the dash of the car and the signal did not reach the monitoring device.

Lately there have been a lot of bogus traffic tickets and fines issued and the authorities who run the toll roads think they know why.

When a photo is taken of an offending car, the door is opened to all sorts of problems for innocent motorists because sometimes the photo reveals an incomplete or inaccurate photo of the license plate. That incomplete or inaccurate photo can trigger a bogus ticket or bill for an innocent driver.

What are some of the causes of a bad photo or mis-read license plate? I asked some of the experts who run these monitoring systems on toll roads and they told me the biggest problem is that some drivers have frames around their license plates or tags. The frames can cut off parts of the digits on the plate. For example, the license plate frame can make a Z look like a 7 and a frame can make an E look like an F. Yes, you can be framed into getting a ticket if the photo shows the wrong plate number because of a frame.

Some drivers love their license plate frames. We use license plate frames to promote our businesses, and car dealers use license plate frames to promote their dealerships, and we use license plate frames to promote our kids' schools and teams and charities. But these license plate frames cause trouble.

What should you do if you get a bogus ticket? Immediately challenge the ticket. Contact whatever toll road authority issued the ticket or bill and put your dispute in writing. Some toll road authorities allow an email dispute but I think you should dispute via email and with a letter through the U.S. Postal Service.

Meanwhile, think twice about promoting license plate frames. Sure they serve a purpose but a greater purpose might be to stop using them to cut down on problems with automatic toll systems.

THE IRS WILL NOT CONTACT YOU BY EMAIL

Update December 27, 2012  This is the time of year when many of us send payments to the Internal Revenue Service including quarterly income tax payments.  You might also be on a payment plan for a tax liability.  Or you might be sending in tax withholding for employees.  So, with payments going to the IRS you might become alarmed when you receive an email that says your bank rejected the check or payment you sent to the IRS.

Well, it's more than likely that the email you received is part of a scam -- and most likely a phishing scam in an attempt to get your personal information including your bank account information and identity information.  The IRS makes it clear -- it does not initiate contact with taxpayers via email.

Earlier today I received an email that looked very suspcious to me even though the return address including "irs.gov" on the email.  The email said my bank rejected a payment to the IRS.  Coincidentally, I just sent a check to the IRS.  So my first step was to call the bank and ask them if my check to the IRS was presented for payment and if it was rejected for payment.  As I expected, my bank said my check has not yet been presented and no check has been rejected and yes, there was enough money in my account to cover the check.  That was  relief.

So, I forwarded the suspicious email to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov and I suggest that if you get similar emails that you do the same thing.

The IRS responded with this:

Please note that the IRS does not contact individuals by email.
Therefore, if you received an email claiming to be from the IRS it is a phishing attempt and should be reported to us.

Additional information on IRS phishing can be viewed here:
http://www.irs.gov/privacy/article/0,,id=179820,00.html

HANG UP ON ROBO CALLS

Update July 11, 2012  There is only one way to handle robo calls -- phone calls made by a computer with a recorded voice doing the talking: hang up.  Do not push any buttons thinking you will be connected to an operator who will remove you from the robo call list.  If you talk to anyone from the "robo call company" you will continue to get robo calls.  So, just hang up.

If you happen to get a sales call from someone like a business or a political campaign you can use this technique to make them stop calling: you can say "hold on please, I'll be right back."  And then put the phone down and go do the laundry, or make a sandwhich or resume your housecleaning.  In other words -- let 'em hang and hang and hang.

If you really want to hurt 'em, say something like "okay, tell me your story."  And as they start talking, you put the phone down and as they talk you walk away and keep walking.

And if you have the time and you're totally bored with nothing to do, go ahead and listen to their sales pitch and ask questions -- lots of questions.  And then when the caller has invested a lot of time in your call, perhaps five or ten minutes, simply say "no thanks and hang up."

Of course you can put your phone number on the government's Do Not Call Registry.  Go to www.donotcall.gov for more about the Do Not Call Registry.  But some organizations do not have to observe the Do Not Call Registry.

SOY CANDLES RECALLED BECAUSE THEY BURN TOO HOT

Update July 7, 2012  The Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a voluntary recall of soy candles in glass holders that burned too hot and as a result, the glass containers shattered from the heat.  The soy candles have the Bath Petals brand and about 2,800 of the soy candles were sold.  Bath  Petals is a company in Gardena, California.  According to the CPSC "the candle can burn with a high flame, causing excessive heat. This poses a fire hazard. The heat and flame can cause the glass candle holder to shatter. This poses a laceration hazard."

The recall was announced after one case was reported of the candle burning with a high flame and shattering the glass holder.  No injuries or property damage were reported.

The candles are 7.5 oz. soy candles sold in four colors and scents: Australian Eucalyptus, California Rose Garden, French Alpine and Thai Lemongrass Ginger. "Bath petals" and the scent name are printed on the glass candle holder. The following UPC codes are on the bottom of the box: 6-10696-55269-3, 7-97734-03754-8, 7-97734-03755-5 and 7-97734-03758-6

If you have the product, you can get a refund by calling Bath Petals toll-free at (855) 772-7258 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday or visit the firm's website at www.bathpetals.com .

IKEA RECALLS 169,000 HIGH CHAIRS FOR KIDS

Update January 19, 2012  IKEA and the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission have announced a recall of about 169,000 baby high chairs sold in the United States and Canada with most of them sold in the USA.  About 133,000 of the ANTILOP High Chairs were sold in the USA at IKEA stores.  The company and the CPSC say the high chair's restraint buckle can open unexpectedly, posing a fall hazard to the child.  IKEA has received eight reports worldwide of restraint buckles that opened unexpectedly, including three reports of children who received minor injuries after falling from the high chair.

This recall involves ANTILOP high chairs sold in red, blue or white.  The CPSC says the plastic high chair has detachable silver-colored metal legs.  The high chairs included in the recall have a manufacture date between 0607 and 0911 (YYMM format) from supplier number 17389.  The production date and supplier number are molded into the underside of the seat.  "ANTILOP," "IKEA" and the model number are printed on a label affixed to the underside of the seat.  Model numbers included in the recall are:

ANTILOP high chair blue

Model # 701.467.92

ANTILOP high chair red

Model # 501.467.93

ANTILOP high chair white

Model # 300.697.24

These chairs were sold at IKEA stores nationwide from August 2006 through January 2010 for about $20.  If you have one of these chairs you should stop using it immediately and contact IKEA to obtain a free replacement seat restraint.  Contact IKEA toll-free at (866) 966-4532 anytime, or visit the firm's website at www.ikea-usa.com

RECALL OF FLOOR LAMPS SOLD AT BIG LOTS

Update January 16, 2012  There has been a recall of floor lamps sold at Big Lots, the discount chain.  These were called "Five-Light Floor Lamps" and close to 44,000 were sold.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission says that "the wiring for the lamp’s light sockets can become exposed, posing a risk of electric shock to consumers.  In addition, use of the recommended standard 40 watt light bulbs can generate excessive heat, which can melt the double plastic shades over the bulbs."  So far, Big Lots says it has received four reports on the lamp shades melting but no injuries have been reported.

This recall involves Classic Quarters Five Light Floor Lamps.  The lamps stand about five feet tall and have a gunmetal or chrome colored metal pole and five adjustable lights mounted on flexible metal tubes at the top.  Dark plastic or multi-colored double plastic shades cover each of the five lights.  Recalled lamps use standard incandescent or CFL bulbs and have labels marked with the model number “G-1843-5” affixed to the underside of the lamp base.  These lamps can be further identified by SKU numbers 612007239, 612007829 or 612008982 at the beginning of the instructions. 

There are similar lamps that are not part of this recall.  The unaffected lamps are lamps that use candelabra bulbs and can be identified by labels marked with the model number “G-1844-5B” and SKU numbers 612009036 or 612009037 in the instructions.

The lamps invovled in the recall were sold at Big Lots stores nationwide from April 2010 through November 2011 for between $30 and $50.  Consumers should immediately stop using the lamps and return them to a Big Lots store for a full refund.

BLACK & DECKER COFFEE POT RECALLED AFTER INJURIES ARE REPORTED

Update June 5, 2012  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a voluntary recall of the Black & Decker® Spacemaker™ 12-Cup Programmable Under-the-Cabinet Coffeemakers.  About 159,000 were sold and they were distributed by Applica Consumer Products Inc. of Miramar, Florida.  According to the CPSC the coffee pot handle can break, causing cuts and burns to the consumer.  So far there have been 1,276 reports of handles breaking, including 68 reports of burns and/or cuts.

This recall involves Black & Decker® brand 12-cup coffeemakers designed to mount under a cabinet.  Available in either white or black models, the words “BLACK & DECKER® SPACEMAKER™” are printed in the top right-hand corner.  The coffeemakers have a digital time display in the top left corner and five round buttons above the water reservoir.  The 12-cup coffee pots are glass with a molded handle the same color as the machine and a silver metallic bracket running around the glass near the bottom.

The recall includes model numbers SDC740, SDC740B, SDC740BR, SDC740C, SDC740DIS, SDC740R, SDC750, SDC750C and SDC750DIS. The model number is printed on the underside of the coffeemaker, directly below the water reservoir.  These were sold at major retailers nationwide from July 2008 through May 2012 for about $50-80.

Consumers should immediately stop using the coffeemakers and contact Applica to exchange their coffee pot for a free replacement.  You can contact Applica Consumer Products toll-free at (866) 708-7846 between 8:30 a.m. through 5 p.m. ET, or visit the firm’s website at www.acprecall.com

IF THEY FALL OUT OF THEIR CHAIRS AT THE OFFICE, IT MIGHT NOT BE BECAUSE OF YOUR BRILLIANT IDEA.

Update April 7, 2012  Everyone dreams of walking into the office with a brilliant idea that makes the boss and the supervisors and the co-workers fall out of their chairs.   But it might not be your idea that makes the staff fall out of their chairs-- it might be a defect in the chairs.  A recall of more than 300,000 office chairs sold by Office Depot has been announced.

Office Depot® Brand Biella Leather Desk Chairs are being recalled in the United States and Canada after Office Depot received reports that eleven consumers fell out of their chairs because of this defect.  About 307,000 of the chairs were sold in the U.S. and 12,000 were sold in Canada.  The chairs were manufactured in China.  (Put the conspiracy theories aside, I don't think this was a plot to shake up American business.)

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says that the weld connecting the seat plate to the gas lift in the chair can fail, causing the chair to separate from the base.  This poses a fall hazard to consumers.  Office Depot has received 11 reports of the chairs breaking and consumers falling while seated.  There have been reports of injuries, including minor contusions and abrasions.

This recall involves Office Depot® brand leather desk chairs.  The mid-back height leather chairs were sold in black and have SKU number 130548.  “REG. No. PA-25498 (CN)” and “Made in China” are printed on a label located on the underside of the seat.  They were sold exclusively at Office Depot retail stores nationwide and online at www.OfficeDepot.com from January 2002 through December 2008 for about $55.

If you have one of these chairs you should immediately stop using it and contact Office Depot’s recall hotline to receive a $55 store card that may be used for a replacement chair or other store merchandise.  For additional information, contact Office Depot’s recall hotline toll-free at (866) 403-3763 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s website at www.officedepot.comAnd if it's too late and your boss did fall out of his or her chair, I hope it was because of your idea and it wasn't because of the defect.

A NEW TWIST ON IDENTITY THEFT: STEALING YOUR MEDICAL INSURANCE BENEFITS

Update February 15, 2012  Most of us think of identity theft as a problem involving our credit cards, or crooks getting access to credit cards in our name and using our social security number.  But the Federal Trade Commission is now warning about medical identity theft.  With medical identity theft someone steals your identity to get medical treatment or insurance coverage using your insurance benfits.

When you are a victim of medical identity theft several things can happen to you including getting bills for medical services you didn't receive.  You could also find there are dings on your credit score for bills that weren't paid, and you could be contacted by debt collectors about bills you have no knowledge of.  What could be worse is that some new illnesses and disorders could be linked to you that you don't have and that could impact your medical insurance and could affect your ability to get new medical insurance or even life insurance in the future.  The FTC warns you could be denied insurance because of medical conditions you don't have but that the identity theft crook does have.

THE CONTAINER STORE RECALLS SOME POWER STRIPS BECAUSE OF FIRE HAZARD

Update February 7, 2012  The popular and trendy Container Store chain has recalled some of its brightly-colored power strips due to a potential fire hazard according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  About 7,200 of the Lush Life® power strips were sold.  The CPSC says the power strips have "undersized wiring, and the wiring and plastic strip fail to meet the requirements for fire resistance, posing a fire hazard."  So far no injuries or fires have been reported.

This recall involves three designs of brightly-colored, six-outlet power strips with model number 8001-6 embossed on the back.  Power strip designs include Pop Power Strip in Scroll (black with white scroll), Dot (blue with orange, white and lime green dots and a lime green cord), and Zebra (black and white zebra stripes).  The power strips have three-foot power cords. “Lush Life® power strips by design” is printed on the product’s packaging.

The power stripes were sold at The Container Stores nationwide and on the firm’s website www.containerstore.com from October 2011 through December 2011 for about $15.  If you have the power strips, you should stop using them immediately and return them to any of The Container Store locations for a full refund plus a $15 merchandise card.  Contact The Container Store toll-free at (888) 266-8246.

RECALL OF TARGET LED FLASHLIGHT SETS

Update January 8, 2012  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a voluntary recall of 6-piece LED Flashlight Sets sold by Target.  About 55,000 of the sets were sold.  The government agency says that when turned on, the flashlights can heat up, smoke or melt, posing fire and burn hazards.  Target has received reports of four incidents with the flashlights, including two minor burn injuries to consumer's hands, according to the CPSC.

This recall involves 6-pc. LED Flashlight Sets.  They are made of silver plastic with black rubber around the handle and light base.  The flashlight sets have UPC code 490021010049 printed on the back of the package.  They were sold in sets of six, including two small flashlights measuring about 3 inches long, two medium flashlights about 6 inches long and two large flashlights about 7 1/2 inches long.  They were sold at Target stores nationwide from October 2010 through December 2011 for about $10 per set.

Consumers should immediately stop using the flashlights and return them to any Target store for a full refund.

SOME TANKLESS WATER HEATERS RECALLED BY AN IRVINE, CALIFORNIA COMPANY

Update December 31, 2011  Tankless water heaters are a good idea.  They save energy and they save water and that means more money in your pocket.  But these devices must be properly maintained -- just as all household items must be properly maintained -- and sometimes there can be a defect which poses a hazard.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a voluntary recall of some of the Navien Instantaneous or Tankless Water Heaters.   About 13,000 units were sold by Navien America Inc., of Irvine, California.

According to the CPSC an unstable connection can cause the water heater’s vent collar to separate or detach if pressure is applied.  A detached vent collar poses a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning to the consumer.  So far, no injuries have been reported.  Navien tankless hot water heaters are white with “T-Creator” and “NAVIEN” on the front.  Recalled model numbers are CR-180(A), CR-210(A), CR-240(A), CC-180(A), CC-210(A) and CC-240(A) manufactured in 2008.  A label on the side of the water heater lists the model number along with the manufacturing year in YYYY format.  These were sold to in-home installers nationwide from February 2008 through March 2009 for between $1,500 and $2,100.

If you have one of the water heaters you should immediately contact Navien to schedule a free repair.  Navien will replace all Nylon 66 vent collar with PVC collars.  Consumers who continue use of the water heaters while awaiting repair, should have a working carbon monoxide alarm installed outside of sleeping areas in the home.  Contact Navien at (800) 244-8202 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s website at www.navienamerica.com.

And here is an important reminder:  Regardless of the type of water heater that is used, every home should have a CO alarm outside all sleeping areas and consumers should ensure that their CO alarms have working batteries.  Keep in mind that some consumers put their tankless water heaters in a garage or outside their home on an exterior wall, but it is still a good idea to have a CO alarm inside.

SOME BUILD-A-BEAR TEDDY BEARS HAVE BEEN RECALLED 

Update December 27, 2011  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada, in cooperation with Build-A-Bear announced a voluntary recall of the Colorful Hearts Teddy Bears.  Officials of the government agencies say consumers should stop using the recalled products immediately and it is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Nearly 300,000 of the Colorful Hearts Teddy Bears were sold.  They were imported by Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc., of St. Louis, Missouri.  The CPSC says the teddy bear's eyes could loosen and fall out and that poses a choking hazard to children.  However, so far no injuries have been reported.

The Colorful Hearts Teddy is a stuffed animal about 16 inches high with black plastic eyes.  The bear’s fabric covering is printed with multi-colored heart shapes.  It was sold at Build-A-Bear Workshops nationwide and online at www.buildabear.com from April 2011 through this month for about $18 in the U.S. and $23 in Canada.  It was manufactured in China.

Consumers should immediately take the recalled teddy bear from children and return it to any Build-A-Bear store to receive a coupon for any available stuffed animal from Build-A-Bear.  For additional information, contact the firm toll-free at (866) 236-5683 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, on Saturday between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. CT and on Sunday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. CT, visit the firm’s website www.buildabear.com or email the firm at colorfulhearts@buildabear.com.

HANDHELD MASSAGERS RECALLED BY FOURSTAR GROUP DUE TO BURN HAZARD FROM LEAKING BATTERIES SOLD EXCLUSIVELY AT BJ'S WHOLESALE CLUBS

Update December 13, 2011  Have you seen those cute "massage pets" that you hold and their four legs do the massage work?  Well, they've been recalled by the importer.  About 25,000 of the Handheld Massage Pets were sold at BJ's Wholesale Clubs after some complaints that the batteries can leak which could lead to a burn or skin irritation.  While there have been reports of batteries linking, no injuries have actually been reported by the little buggers that are ladybug and bee-shaped massagers.

Accoridng to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, "this recall involves ladybug and bee-shaped 'Massage Pet' handheld massagers.  The ladybugs are red and black and the bees are yellow and black.  The massagers measure 3 1/2 inches tall and 5 inches wide and were sold with two Kendal brand AA batteries.  'Massage Pets' and 'Dating code 1210A' are printed on the massager's hangtag along with UPC 0 49696 60453 6 for the ladybug and UPC 0 49696 60454 3 for the bee.  These were sold exclusively at BJ's Wholesale Clubs from September 2011 through December 2011 for about $8.  If you bought one you are advised to stop using it and return it immediately for a full refund.

For more information, contact Fourstar Group at (866) 290-6191 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm's website at www.fsgrecall.com/massagepets.html

A RECALL OF CHILDREN'S PAJAMAS IMPORTED BY BELLA BLISS 

Update December 8, 2011  The Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a recall of about 2,300 pair of Children's Henley Pima Cotton Pajamas imported by Bella Bliss of Lexington, Kentucky.  "The pajamas fail to meet the federal flammability standards for children's sleepwear posing a risk of burn injury to children," says the CPSC.  So far, no injuries were reported.  The pajamas are a two-piece, cotton sleepwear set sold in sizes 2 to 12.  The pajamas are white, blue, pink or red.  "Bella Bliss" is written on the neck tag and they were sold through the Bella Bliss catalog and website, and specialty clothing retailers and online stores from January 2008 to June 2011 for about $48 to $58.

Children should stop wearing the recalled sleepwear immediately and consumers should return it to the retailer where the product was purchased for a refund, exchange or store credit.  For additional information, contact Bella Bliss toll-free at (866) 846-5295 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm's website at www.bellabliss.com.

RECALL OF ELLIPTICAL EXERCISE TRAINER 

Update December 6, 2011  The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a voluntary recall of an Elliptical Exercise Trainer sold by Nautilus Inc. of Vancouver, Washington.  About 10,000 of the trainers were sold.  The CPSC says the foot plates can detach from the machine during use and that can cause injuries.  Nautilus received nine reports of the foot plates detaching and one consumer reported an injury.

The Elliptical exercise trainer equipment is sold under the model name Schwinn 460 and it is 73 inches tall and 54 inches long and is made of gray anodized aluminum with two moving and two fixed handlebars all with black rubberized padding.  The fixed handlebars have heart rate sensors on both sides.  The machine has a touch-screen console, an adjustable fan and an orange-colored, oversized water bottle holder. A medallion with the Schwinn logo is on the bottom right side of the base of the machine.  It was sold by Nautilus.com, Amazon.com, Dick's Sporting Goods, AAFES, specialty fitness retailers and specialty sporting goods stores nationwide between July 2008 and May 2011 for about $1,000.

The CPSC says consumers should stop using the recalled models immediately and contact Nautilus for a free repair kit that includes an extended warranty.  For additional information, contact Nautilus toll-free at 800-259-9019 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT, Monday through Friday, or on the company's website at www.schwinn.com.

A RECALL OF A MOBILE BATTERY CASE FOR SOME iPHONE MODELS

Update December 4, 2011  The Consumer Product Safety Commission and Best Buy Stores have announced a voluntary recall of the Rocketfish™ Model RF-KL12 Mobile Battery Cases for iPhone 3G and 3GS.  About 32,000 units were sold.  The CPSC says that the battery case can overheat while charging, posing a fire hazard.  There are reports of three consumers suffering minor burns.

This recall includes the Rocketfish™ Model RF-KL12 Mobile Battery Case.  The battery case is made of black lightweight, soft-touch rubberized material designed to hold the phone securely, and comes with a built-in battery.  The model number “RF-KL12” appears on the front of the product’s packaging, on the packaging barcode, and in white print on the curved inner surface of the product.  If you bought one or have one you should immediately stop using it and contact Best Buy for instructions on returning the product and receiving a Best Buy gift card for $70 or $105 in Canada.  Contact Best Buy toll-free at (800) 917-5737 or go to www.BestBuy.com for information.

CHILDREN'S SLIPPERS RECALLED BY FAMILY DOLLAR STORES

Update November 17, 2011   The Kidgets® Animal Sock Top Slippers have been recalled by Family Dollar Stores.  About 160,000 pairs of the children's slippers were available for sale, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission says the animal's eyes can detach from the slippers and could pose a choking hazard.  So far, Family Dollar reported one case of the eyes detaching and no injuries were reported.

"FD9619108020690611" is printed inside the slippers on the side.  They were sold until last month for about $5 a pair.  Consumers should return them for a full refund.  Call (800) 547-0359 or go to www.familydollar.com for information.

RECALL OF CERTAIN KEDS GIRLS SHOES

Update November 17, 2011  A voluntary recall of the KEDS® "Know It All" Girls' Shoe has been announced, and about 45,000 pairs are involved in the recall.  It seems that some of the star ornaments on the shoes can come lose and cause cuts, scratches and lacerations and about 27 cases have been reported. 

This recall involves KEDS® girls' rubber soled shoes. The shoes are black and pink with white trim and a pink loop on the heel. "KEDS" appears on the tongue and heel of the shoe. The style number KY40098A is printed on the underside of the tongue. The shoes were sold in girls' sizes 12 to 5.  These shoes were sold at various department stores and online retailers from June through October 2011 for about $23 a pair and were manufactured in China.  Consumers should take these shoes away from children immediately and contact Collective Brands, the parent company, to receive a gift card for $30 redeemable at Stride Rite stores or www.striderite.com.

For additional information, contact Collective Brands at (800) 365-4933 between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and between 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday, Email kedskidsrecall@collectivebrands.com, or visit the firm's website www.collectibebrands.com.

RECALL OF GLASS VASE SOLD AT MICHAELS 

Update November 15, 2011  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Michaels, the arts and crafts chain, announced a voluntary recall of the Ashland™ Glass Vase and consumers should stop using it immediately.  The CPSC says It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.  About 28,000 of the glass vases were sold in the U. S. and another 1,800 were sold in Canada.  The CPSC says the glass vases can break or fracture if you pick them up and so far at least four persons were injured when the vase broke in their hands and the four verified cases all suffered hand lacerations.  These lacerations were serious, and one consumer had to undergo surgery for the injuries.  Lacerations of the hands can affect tendons, muscle control and of course, veins and arteries.

The CPSCS says "the vase is rectangular and made of clear glass.  It is 12 inches tall, 8 inches wide and 2.5 inches deep.  The SKU number "425827" and UPC number "6-927619-661665" are printed on a label on the bottom of the vase."  These vases were only sold at Michaels Arts & Crafts Stores until last month and were priced about $20.  Michaels will give consumers a complete refund when returned and handle it carefully and put it in a bag for transport back to the store.

You can contact Michaels at (800) 642-4235 Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT or visit the firm's website at www.michaels.com for information.

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