The Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada this week announced a recall involving some Toro lawn mowers and snowblowers.
The 20-inch Recycler mower and Power Clear snowblower both have carburetors that can leak, possibly causing fires or burns. They were sold at Toro dealers in the U.S. and Canada from September 2009 through March 2011. So far, no one has been injured and no fires have been reported.
Still, in a voluntary recall such as this the CPSC advises consumers to stop using the recalled products immediately. Owners can call any authorized Toro dealer to make arrangements for a free repair; be prepared to wait if you have one of the mowers, as this is a busy time for servicing.
For a complete listing of model numbers involved in the recall, visit CPSC’s website,www.cpsc.gov. You can also find the list on our blog (see below).
The CPSC negotiates voluntary recalls with manufacturers all the time. Sometimes they attract widespread news coverage; more often, they’re posted on the agency’s website with little if any additional media attention. Northeast CONTACT posts some recall notices on our blog; you can find all recall notices at the CPSC website and sign up for email alerts when new recalls are announced.
With the Toro recall, the manufacturer supplies parts and a local dealer’s technicians remedy the problem. Many recalls involve such a “fix,” but other cases may not be so straightforward.
Take tires, for example. When a recall occurs, those tires you bought might have been on your car for a few days or a few years. If it’s a few days, the dealer likely would just put on new replacements. If you’ve run up tens of thousands of miles on those recalled tires, you’re more likely looking at some sort of pro-rated compensation.
Every tire sold in the U.S. is registered with the federal Department of Transportation. In theory, dealers should be able to notify customers to whom they’ve sold tires, in the event of a recall. In practice, some dealers are more diligent about their paperwork than others.
Tom Bennett of Bennett Auto Center in Bangor says this is another example where it pays to deal locally with people you know. While discount-driven chain stores make their money on volume, a smaller local dealer will more likely have kept up with the paperwork and be ready to compensate the purchaser for lost miles.
And, Bennett advises, always ask about the warranty that comes with anything you buy for your vehicle.
A final word is in order on recalled products. The CPSC warns that it’s illegal to resell or try to resell a recalled product. Resale shops are cautioned to avoid such goods. Watch out for recalled products that might mistakenly end up in a yard sale.
Consumer Forum is a collaboration of the Bangor Daily News and Northeast CONTACT, Maine’s membership-funded, nonprofit consumer organization. Individual and business memberships are available at modest rates. For assistance with consumer-related issues, including consumer fraud and identity theft, or for more information, write: Consumer Forum, P.O. Box 486, Brewer 04412, go to http://necontact.wordpress.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.