Black & Decker Fined $575,000
For Hiding Toaster Defect

WASHINGTON, Dec. 30, 1999 -- Black & Decker will pay a civil penalty of $575,000 for failing to report defects in its Spacemaker toasters, even though the company knew the units had caused more than 1,000 fires.

The penalty is one of the largest ever paid to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) agency.

The penalty resolves charges that the Towson, Md., company's Spacemaker T1000 Type 1 Horizontal Under-the-Cabinet Toasters contained defects, and that the firm failed to report the problem to the agency in a timely manner as required by law.

CPSC also charged that Black & Decker withheld consumer complaint information and important engineering documents during CPSC's investigation. Although the company agreed to the civil penalty, Black & Decker denied it violated the law.

The Spacemaker T1000 Type 1 is a horizontal toaster installed under a kitchen cabinet. The toasters, still under recall, can allow food to catch fire. Because they have a door that automatically opens and a food rack that extends outward, flames from the food can escape the unit, exposing kitchen cabinets and their contents to the fire.

The toasters were sold from 1994 through 1996 for about $50 to $64. Consumers can identify the recalled toaster because they are the only Spacemaker Toasters that have an "OPEN" button, located on the control panel on the right side of the toaster.

Consumers should stop using the Spacemaker T1000 Type 1 Under-the-Cabinet Toaster immediately and contact Black & Decker at (800) 746-2159 to participate in the recall.

For more information, call Black & Decker or access their web site.

The Spacemaker T1000 Type 2 toaster does not open automatically and is not part of the recall.