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Sunday, January 6, 2008

RC2 : How to badly handle P/R after a recall


Back in June 2007, the company that manufactures the toy trains based on Thomas books and videos announced that it had been making many of those trains with lead paint. Lead paint, if ingested, tends to cause brain damage. So the company -- the RC2 Corporation, which is based in Illinois and makes the trains in China -- asked parents to mail back the affected toys.

But RC2 could hardly have done a worse job of handling the situation.

First it asked its customers to pay the shipping costs of returning the toys. Meanwhile, executives at both RC2 and HIT Entertainment, which owns the Thomas brand, hid from public view. They never explained why their safety checks had failed -- or why they deserved to be trusted now. They still haven't.

''They just really bungled this thing,'' D. J. Nordquist, a mother of three young children in Northern Virginia, told me. Ms. Nordquist had asked RC2 for a refund on her recalled trains, mostly on principle, she said, but also to cover the $39 she spent on lead tests for her children. RC2 refused. Instead, it sent her and other customers replacement trains, as well as an additional toy train as a bonus ''gift.''

Now, here is where the story gets truly incredible. In September, RC2 recalled five more toys because of lead. One was a gray boxcar called the Toad vehicle. The Toad vehicle, it turned out, was one of the trains that RC2 had mailed out as a gift. That's right. To make up for putting lead in its toys, RC2 sent children ... a free lead-contaminated toy!

RC2 does seem to be as serious about toy safety as they are with handling customers after recalls.

LINKS :
http://recalls.rc2.com
http://www.hitentertainment.com/thomasandfriends/usa/
http://www.rc2.com/

SOURCE :
New York Times

1 comment:

Jean-Philippe Cunniet said...

Their recall website (!) lists all their past recalls since 2003 :

* December, 2007 Recall of The First Years Newborn-to-Toddler Reclining Feeding Seat. In cooperation with the CPSC, RC2 issued a voluntary recall on December 6, 2007 for The First Years Newborn-to-Toddler Reclining Feeding Seat. The affected feeding seats were sold between November 2006 and May 2007.

* December, 2007 Recall of The First Years 3-in-1 Flush & Sounds Potty. In cooperation with the CPSC, RC2 issued a voluntary recall on December 6, 2007 of two styles of The First Years 3-in-1 Flush & Sounds Potty Training Seat. The affected potty seats were sold between April 2006 and August 2007.

* September, 2007 Recall of five Thomas & Friends™ Wooden Railway toys. In cooperation with the CPSC, RC2 issued a voluntary recall on September 26, 2007 for five additional items from the Thomas & Friends™ Wooden Railway that were manufactured before April 30, 2007.

* September, 2007 Recall of three toys included in the Britains brand Knights of the Sword product line. In cooperation with the CPSC, RC2 is voluntarily recalling three silver knights mounted on red horses that were produced in April 2004 and sold by various retailers.

* June, 2007 Recall of Wooden Vehicles and Set Components In cooperation with the CPSC, RC2 has issued a voluntary recall on June 13th, 2007, of various Thomas & Friends™ Wooden Railway vehicles and wooden train set components sold at toy stores and various retailers nationwide from January 2005 through June 2007

* December, 2006 Safety Advisory affecting 1,223 units of Compass I420 Infant Car Seats.

* November, 2006 Recall of Shake 'n Jingle Keys and John Deere Real Keys In cooperation with the CPSC, RC2 announces recall of Shake 'n Jingle Keys and John Deere Real Keys sold between August 2005 through October 2006

* January, 2006 Recall of six liquid-filled teethers sold between July 2005 and January 2006

* March, 2003 Learning Curve Int'l Inc. Announce Recall of Lamaze Activity Toys Lamaze Flower Stroller Wrap (SKU #97222) and Lamaze Soft Bead Buddies (SKU #97325) - Recall Date: March, 2003. Recall Closed by CPSC: March 2004