Thursday, June 29, 2006

Tiffany Settles Product Hazard Claims

Tiffany Agrees to Pay $262,500 Penalty to Settle Consumer-Product Hazard Allegations

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on Wednesday said upscale retailer Tiffany & Co. agreed to pay a $262,500 civil penalty to settle allegations that the company failed to report on time that its infant teether rattle may pose a consumer hazard.

A spokeswoman for the federal agency said its three-person commission unanimously approved the penalty. The settlement is provisional, pending a 15-day public comment period. Once that period lapses, the settlement will take effect, provided there are no major issues raised, the spokeswoman said.

In agreeing to the settlement, Tiffany denied that it violated the Consumer Product Safety Act. A company spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

CPSC alleged Tiffany was aware that its Farm Teether Rattles could break, releasing small beads and animal figures that could cause babies to choke, but did not report the hazard as required by federal law.

Tiffany received at least three complaints about a defective solder joint on the rattles, but only disclosed them once the commission began an investigation, CPSC said.

The company stopped selling the product in March 2004.

Tiffany shares rose 15 cents to $32.62 in recent trading on the New York Stock Exchange.