On April 13, Viking Range agreed to pay a $4.65 million civil penalty for failing to immediately report the safety hazard to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) as required by law.
In May 2015, Viking Range recalled 52,000 gas oven ranges that could somehow turn on by themselves.
The ranges were sold from July 2007 to June 2014 at ABT, Ferguson, Morrison, Pacific Sales, PC Richard & Son, and other stores nationwide for between $4,000 and $13,000.
From 2008 to 2014, Viking received 170 reports of gas ranges that turned on spontaneously and could not be turned off with the control knobs, resulting in extremely hot surface temperatures.
At least two people were severely burned while trying to pull out the plug because they couldn’t turn off the range using the control knobs.
There were also five reports of gas ranges spontaneously turning on and causing property damage to the surrounding area. According to the CPSC:
Several consumers called 911 for assistance when they discovered that the ranges had turned on spontaneously and could not be turned off or disconnected.”
Viking did not tell the CPSC until July 2014, approximately 6 years after the first complaints were reported.
The CPSC says Viking “knowingly” violated a federal law requiring manufacturers to report product hazards within 24 hours, even while their own investigations are continuing.
Instead of issuing a recall, Viking collected and tested the appliances, developed a repair, and issued numerous engineering orders and technical bulletins with instructions on how to repair the ranges.
In addition to paying a $4.65 million fine, Viking has agreed to maintain an enhanced compliance program and a related system of internal controls and procedures. Viking’s settlement of the matter does not constitute an admission of CPSC’s charges.