HSN to pay $875,000 penalty related to recall

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Cable network HSN agreed to pay $875,000 to settle charges that it failed to report in a timely fashion serious injuries from pressure cookers sold on its shopping channel, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said on Thursday.

The CPSC said that from September 2001 through about October 2004, HSN got at least 25 reports from consumers that lids on Welbilt electronic cookers opened prematurely while contents were under pressure, but did not report it until February 2005.

Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors and retailers to immediately report to the CPSC information about products that could create a substantial risk of injury to the public, the agency said.

The CPSC said that as part of the settlement, HSN denied its allegations.

“The safety of our customers is HSN’s highest priority, which is why we voluntarily reported this matter to the CPSC. Although we disagree with the allegations of the CPSC, we have agreed to resolve this matter without the distraction and expense of litigation,” HSN said in an e-mailed statement.

HSN is a unit of Internet conglomerate IAC/InterActiveCorp IACI.O, which said last month that it would spin off the cable shopping network as part of a restructuring.

The CPSC recalled about 3,900 of the Korean-made Welbilt pressure cookers in June and October 2005.

By that time, the agency said HSN had received 43 reports that the lids opened prematurely including in 37 reports of burns, least four of which involved third-degree burns.

The CPSC has been in the spotlight because of recalls this year of millions of Chinese-made toys.

U.S. lawmakers have said the agency does not have enough resources and enforcement power to efficiently deter companies from making and selling hazardous products.

Both chambers of Congress have proposed legislation that would increase the number of people working at the CPSC and raise the maximum penalty it can levy. The maximum is currently $1.825 million.

Additional reporting by Michele Gershberg in New York; Editing by Toni Reinhold