Cheap import tools and product liability (was: Violent Electric Drill Accident)

On Thu, 17 Jul 2003 09:08:48 -0500, Richard J Kinch


The common method is to make yourself "judgement proof". All profits are expensed out to an "arms length" entity on a monthly basis so the company has no assetts. All property and chattels are leased. No insurance if they can get away with it. Can't get blood out of a stone, so the lawyers take one look, say there is nothing there, and move on.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
clare wrote:

First, the usual 'I am not a lawyer' disclaimer.
I doubt that this would work for Harbor Freight. First of all, they have intangible assets such as their 'good name'. Secondly, if they could not pay off a big judgment, the court might order them to be sold at auction to satisfy the debt.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Same here. :-)

have intangible assets such as their 'good name'. Secondly, if they could not pay off a big judgment, the court might order them to be sold at auction to satisfy the debt.<<
But I believe the liabilty would normally fall on the manufacturer rather than the dealer and I don't think I've ever seen a "Harbor Freight" brand tool. They have their house brands that they sell but they do not normally have the Harbor Freight name on them. They're by brands such as Chicago Electric, Pittsburg Tools, etc. which probably only exist in China.
Best Regards, Keith Marshall snipped-for-privacy@progressivelogic.com
"The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper." -Eden Phillpotts, A Shadow Passes, 1934
wrote:

about
somebody.
much
power-
else
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 17 Jul 2003 21:05:55 GMT, the renowned "Keith Marshall"

Those brands are owned by HF, and the Chinese (or Indian, or Taiwanese) manufacturer "du jour" sticks that name on the product. If the buyer wanted "Sears" or "Snap-On" stuck on there (and plausibly seemed to own the trademark) they'd do that too. The Japanese used that technique to get into the US market in the early days- putting RCA or whatever on their stuff.
If there was a nasty lawsuit, all the parties would be named, the importer and the retailer (which may or may not be separate legal entities in the case of HF) would definitely be included.
My guess is that they have a hefty product liability insurance policy and you'll be dealing with really sharp insurance company lawyers who can stretch things out for many years if you try to make a claim for whatever stupid thing you did to yourself.
Best regards, Spehro Pefhany
--
"it's the network..." "The Journey is the reward"
snipped-for-privacy@interlog.com Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

And if there are no assets to sell???? That is the pivotal assumption. The sale of a corporation with no assets cannot begin to pay damages. If the assets (merchandise) are all owned off shore ( in China) and sold on consignment, there is nothing to sell.
NOT saying HF plays this game, but there are many who do, world-wide.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Cash flow is an asset. But the defense would probably be "Hey, you knew it was a piece of shit when you bought it".
--
Ron Thompson
On the Beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Actually, I've returned more broken tools to Sears than I have to HF.....

much
power-
else
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 17 Jul 2003 09:08:48 -0500, Richard J Kinch

<snip lame attempt to smear Harbor Freight>

Has anyone sucessfully sued an out-of-business American tool company?
If I chop my hand off with my non-OSHA (no belt guard) 1954 King-Seeley table saw, who can I blame?
Do some research into why the US light aircraft industry collapsed overnight. The Chinese had nothing to do with it- it was all American lawyers.
-Carl
"The man who has nothing worth dying for has nothing worth living for"- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
That's BS, Carl. I could undercut anybody in price if I sell garbage put together by slave labor.
--
Larry Bailey
Illegitimi non carborundum
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
If you ever bought anything from Harbor Freight you would know that the instruction and parts manual that comes with a tool is more like a safety and maintenance manual; there is lots on what to not do and not too much on how to use the tool. If you follow the instructions, you are not likely to get hurt, and if you don't, well you were told, so the liability part is covered. I mean, does a company really have to tell you not to peas in your ears? Wouldn't you know not to leave the key in the drill when you turn it on? Most tool mishaps are due to operator error and carelessness and not faulty tools. Most of the time if the tool is defective, it just doesn't do anything and you cannot blame the manufacture when you get mad and throw it down and it bounces up and sticks in your groin.
BTW, Harbor Freight, at least at my store, will without hassle, replace any tool that you say won't work and if you return it in an original box they don't even ask for a sales receipt.
Maybe parents shouldn't let their kids drive 100 lb go carts, but then they let 5 and 6 year olds drive ATV when it is illegal for children to operate them. I expect they still sue the manufacture when their kids get hurt. County prosecutors could be a little more robust in prosecuting parent who do stupid and illegal things that kill their kids. Maybe they ought to prosecute the suing lawyer for aiding and abbeting a crime also. Sorry for the rant, but irresponsible people tend to anger me.
Richard J Kinch wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Don't buy Chinese products.
http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/2003/05/29/news/world/5966873.htm
--
Larry Bailey
Illegitimi non carborundum
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
LBailey wrote:

That's near impossible to do with so many things these days. You'd be spending most of your shopping time trying to find a source of what you needed that *wasn't* made in China.
Speaking of "dangerous tools": Two weeks ago I succumbed to temptation and bought one of those Remington pole saws (a lightweight 10 inch electric chain saw on a telescoping pole.) to help me trim back some of the tree branches which persist in seeking the open spaces over our backyard. (Because every other direction is blocked by more trees, those trees aren't dumb.). I'd been using one of those pull rope loppers, but some of the branches which I wanted to cut were too large for it.
Anyway, the pole saw worked as advertised albeit it's reach wasn't as great as I would have hoped for. But, the clamp which you tighten to lock the telescoping pole sections where you want them is pure shite for the job it has to do. It's a plastic collet clamping on a shiny fiberglass pole. The collet is closed by a threaded plastic ring with a ribbed outer surface. Looks OK in principle, but it would take King Kong to tighten it enough by hand to keep those pole sections locked in use. And, the (rather crummy) manual which came with the product specifically warns NOT to use tools to tighten the clamp. Even with work gloves on I can't tighten it enough to lock it up.
So, after a few seconds of use, the handle at the bottom of the pole, which contains the saw's trigger switch and it's safety unlock button, twists around relative to the chainsaw bar at the other end of the pole until I'm turning my hand and wrist into a pretzel trying to operate the switch, and by then my grip on that handle is far from stable. Now, I think I'm smart enough to know when to quit when this happens, but it sure seems like an inadequate design to me, and there's something about the warning not to use tools to tighten the clamp that makes me think the manufacturer must know that too.
I Googled around and found that several other people had the exactly the same complaint about this product in their amazon.com product reviews of it.
An email a week ago to the "manufacturer" (DESA) has produced nothing but a question asking me if the collet part was turning relative to the pole it's attached to, and I immediately responded that it wasn't that, but the collet "jaws" themselves which were slipping on the pole they were clamping. Nothing has been heard from them since then.
Before someone suggests I drill a few holes right through both pole sections in several places and stick a bolt through them to fix the pole length where I want it at the time, let me point out that there's a coiled electrical cord running up through the pole, so that approach won't be as easy as it sounds.
I think I'll just return the darned thing to Lowes this weekend. Don Foreman tipped me off about "High Limb Chain Saws" (A few feet of chain saw blade between two ropes that you toss over the limb and "shoe shine" back and forth.) I bought one, and it works great, and reaches a LOT higher that that electric pole saw.
Jeff -- Jeff Wisnia (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
"Success is getting what you like; Happiness is liking what you get."

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I have one of those pole saws. It works great. Sounds to me like you were trying to manually saw with it. Let the chain do the work. If it is sharp and properly tensioned, you don't have to exert any great force to make it cut, and the telescoping clamp won't slip. Mine tightens up just fine with hand effort, but if the pole is as "shiney" as you say, you might try taking the shine off with a bit of sandpaper. That'll let the fingers of the collet grip it better.
But in keeping with this thread, I'll relate one incident with respect to the pole saw. You *cannot* step out of the way quick enough to avoid the limb you were cutting *directly* over your head. Fortunately I was wearing my hard hat. Now, for limbs which are so high I'd need to stand directly underneath to reach them, I use a ladder, off to one side, so I can reach *over* and cut the limb instead of reaching *up* to cut the limb.
Gary
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
'nuther Bob wrote:

Well, the instructions which came with mine addressed that. They said to move as far to each side as posible first to cut through the bark on the underside of the limb. I realize the geometry to make that happen is kinda tough unless you add some VERY long extension ropes and can get quite far off to the side. But, that's what they said to do, and I suppose some undercutting is better than nohing....
Jeff
--
Jeff Wisnia (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)

"I before E except after C"....(The height of insufficient weird ancient
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.