The Black Dog Tavern Company, Inc. will pay a $50,000 civil penalty for not reporting continued sales of children's hooded sweatshirts after they were recalled for a strangulation hazard last February, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced this past Friday.
Commission investigators visited two Black Dog stores this past August and saw that the recalled sweatshirts with drawstrings were still for sale. The investigators purchased three of them.
The Black Dog was supposed to have removed the drawstrings from more than 7,000 children's sweatshirts still in its inventory at the time of the recall to comply with the recall plan, according to the commission.
In agreeing to settle the matter, the Black Dog denies that they knowingly failed to inform the commission of the post-recall distribution and sale of the sweatshirts.
Company chief executive officer Robert Douglas was out of the country on a three-week business trip until late yesterday, according to a Black Dog representative, and could not be reached. No other company representative was willing to comment on the matter.
On Feb. 15, the Black Dog announced a recall of about 9,700 children's sweatshirts sold between May 2004 and January 2006 at stores, on-line and in their catalogs, telling consumers to remove the drawstrings to eliminate the hazard. The recall now includes the additional sweatshirts sold since the recall last February.
Since 1996, drawstrings have been prohibited on children's sweatshirts for posing a "substantial risk of injury to young children," according to the Federal Hazardous Substances Act. No incidents or injuries have been reported relating to the Black Dog sweatshirts. Federal law requires companies to report to the commission within 24 hours after obtaining information that a product may contain a defect which could create a substantial risk of injury to the public, presents an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or violates a federal safety standard.
The Black Dog's civil penalty will be paid in four installments of $12,500 over 18 months, with checks made out to the U.S. Treasury, according to the settlement agreement.
The Black Dog Web site has a link to the recall notice on its home page, theblackdog.com, noting that it will be posted until Jan. 31, 2007 in cooperation with the commission. In bold, red letters, the notice says, "Before your child uses this garment, immediately remove the drawstring to eliminate the hazard." The notice does not mention refunds or exchanges on the sweatshirts.
The recalled sweatshirts were made in China and Canada and were sold for between $30 and $50. They have a black dog on the front and are sold in youth sizes up to size 12, with drawstrings through the hood. The sweatshirt colors are navy blue, gray, red, pink, black or oatmeal. "The Black Dog," "Est. 71," or "The Black Dog/ Martha's Vineyard " are printed on the back of some of the sweatshirts. A tag sewn on the inside of the garment reads "The Black Dog." Style numbers K086, K088, K090, K062 or K063 are printed on the garments' hang tags.
For additional information, call the Black Dog at 800-626-1991 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or visit the company's Web site theblackdog.com.