Consumer Groups Call on IKEA to Improve Transparency and Put Consumer Safety First
Image: IKEA

Consumer Groups Call on IKEA to Improve Transparency and Put Consumer Safety First

The Swedish furniture manufacturer has not shared internal records as ordered by a judge

September 1, 2016

IKEA is back in the news again, but it's not in a good way.

Just a mere two months after recalling 29 million chests and dressers that posed a serious tip-over hazard and indeed injured and even killed several children, the company has failed to follow a court order to turn over internal documents to an attorney.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the company missed its August 19 deadline to share its records with attorneys representing a mother suing IKEA after her son was crushed to death when his IKEA dresser tipped over in 2014. The lawyers asked Judge John Younge on Monday to fine the manufacturer $1,000 per day until it complies with the order.

In response to IKEA's non-action, the Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, and Kids in Danger have issued a joint statement calling on the company to comply.

"Ikea sold millions of unstable dressers with a tip-over hazard that led to the deaths of at least six toddlers and continues to place countless children at risk," say the groups. "It resisted a recall for too long. And now it isn't sharing internal records about these products.

"While Ikea has been arguing that turning over the documents would harm CPSC's recall process, we are concerned that the company's record of pushing back against regulator and court requests to increase safety and transparency is putting consumers at risk. We urge Ikea to improve transparency and put consumer safety first.

"Given the massive size of this recall and the lack of any data so far about how well it is working, we urge Ikea to work to ensure that consumers effectively remove the unstable dressers from their home as soon as possible and continue to cooperate with regulators to share all safety-related records about this hazard. This information could prove critical to motivating quick action and broader participation in the recall."

The Inquirer reports that the records in question comprise more than 75 documents spanning almost two years and include video and photos of IKEA testing the dressers internally, as well as numerous emails and letters sent between the parties' attorneys and other "items that might shed light on how widespread a threat Ikea dressers have posed, including an email referring to 'global' Malm tip-over incidents."

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, one child dies every two weeks and one has to go to the emergency room every 24 minutes due to furniture or televisions tipping over.