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Build-A-Bear Workshop to pay $600,000 fine in defective toy chair case

Build-A-Bear Workshop to pay $600,000 fine in defective toy chair case

WASHINGTON—A defective toy beach chair manufactured by Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. has resulted in a $600,000 civil fine from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The St. Louis-based make-your-own-teddy-bear company agreed to the fine to settle allegations that the company knew the toys were hazardous long before it reported the defect to the CPSC.

The agency alleges that Build-A-Bear began receiving reports in July 2007 that the toy chairs, sold as an accessory for the company's stuffed animals, were capable of pinching, lacerating or amputating a child's fingertip if the finger were caught between the wooden frame as it folded. However, it waited until March 2009 to report the defect, according to agency documents.

Build-A-Bear admitted no wrongdoing as a provision of the settlement announced Dec. 16.

Voluntary recall issued

Although it did not contact the CPSC until March 2009, the company had already halted sales of the chairs in October 2008 and notified its stores to return all chairs in inventory to the Build-A-Bear storage warehouse.

A formal voluntary recall was issued on May 14, 2009, according to the CPSC.

In an email, Build-A-Bear spokeswoman said that with more than 200,000 of the toy chairs sold between 2001 and 2008, the company received just 10 injury complaints, and most were reported between 2008 and January 2009.

“When Build-A-Bear Workshop had sufficient information regarding the injuries associated with the chair in order to determine that the chair might contain a defect, it promptly began working with the CPSC in March of 2009 on the voluntary recall of the toy beach chair,” the spokeswoman said. “Build-A-Bear Workshop decided to issue the voluntary recall of the toy beach chair because the safety of its guests is a top priority.”