Costco Wholesale Corp. has agreed to pay a $3.85 million civil penalty for its failure to report dangerously defective trash cans that pose a laceration hazard.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said in an Oct. 9 announcement that Costco knew its EKO Sensible Eco Living Trash Cans posed an unreasonable risk of injury to consumers but chose not to disclose the problem to the CPSC as federal regulations require,
The Issaquah, Washington-based retail giant, famous for its bulk products and wholesale prices, received 92 consumer complaints about the EKO trash cans, including 60 complaints from consumers who were injured using them, some of which were serious injuries.
According to the CPSC, the black plastic protective collar in the opening on the back of the EKO Trash Can receptacle can become dislodged and expose a sharp edge.
Costco and the manufacturer finally recalled the EKO trash cans in July 2015, after it had sold some 367,000 units.
The recalled trash cans were sold exclusively at Costco store locations nationwide between December 2013 and May 2015 for about $50. The trash cans are stainless steel with an sensor-operated lid that operates on eight AA batteries. The model number EK9288BMT-80L is on a product identification label on the underside of the trash can lid.
In addition to paying the $3.85 million civil penalty, Costco has agreed to maintain a program designed to keep the company in compliance with the Consumer Product Safety Act. The company also agreed to implement a system of internal controls and procedures to ensure that it discloses information to the CPSC in accordance with applicable law.