NCCC Issues Urgent Safety Advisory for Personal Training Equipment; Requests CPSC Investigation
The North Carolina Consumers Council (NCCC) has issued an urgent safety advisory cautioning consumers against the purchase and use of the Apex JD2.2 Flat Bench, a popular item sold online and in stores through Amazon.com, Walmart, Dick's Sporting Goods, and other retailers.
NCCC has formally requested that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) investigate the dangers of the JD2.2 Flat Bench, as well as other Apex-branded personal training products that could pose personal injury risks to users.
NCCC has received a number of complaints from consumers who allege that the legs of the Apex JD2.2 Flat Bench give out, breaking at a leg weld suddenly and without warning during use causing the bench to collapse underneath them. Upon inspection, they report that the leg welds are holding together only a thin, lightweight metal that has completely sheered away.
Many of the complainants report that their own weight combined with the weight they are lifting is nowhere near the 300 pound advertised weight limit.
"It's obviously a serious consumer safety hazard," says Matthew Oliver, NCCC Executive Director. "As a 160 pound man, I would expect to be able to lift a single 25 pound dumbbell without fear of the bench giving out."
Not only is the apparent defect of concern, so is the company's response, which most complainants report is no response at all.
"The consumers who repeatedly contact the company receive no response whatsoever," continued Oliver. "In fact, after a lengthy search I finally found the manufacturer of the product, Impex Inc., based in Pamona, California, and reached out to ask their opinion on the matter. They didn't respond to me, either. So here we have a company that's selling a shoddy product and not bothering to own up and take responsibility."
Not only are complaints coming into NCCC, countless complaints can also be found on Amazon.com dating back to as early as April 2010, as well as on Walmart.com. Consumers on both sites are also reporting broken leg welds.
According to Oliver, Consumers are reporting that "the merchants are generally good about accepting returns of the item, but accepting a return does nothing to mitigate the safety risk to consumers."
A check of online storefronts for the company's other products, which appear to be made in China, has revealed strings of other complaints, as well. Consumers are reporting everything from wobbling equipment to screws that are either too long, too short, won't tighten or won't line up with pre-drilled holes.
While the CPSC looks into the matter, NCCC has reached out to several merchants, including Amazon.com and Walmart, to ask that they place a hold on sales of the bench until a decision is rendered. There is no word as of yet if these merchants will take this unusual precautionary measure.
In the meantime, NCCC recommends that consumers refrain from using the product to ensure their safety.