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Post date: August 5 2003

Ge To Pay $1.4 Million In Lawsuit Over Deceptive Dishwasher Recall

Attorney General Spitzer today announced a court order resolving his office’s lawsuit against General Electric over a deceptive dishwasher recall program.

New York Supreme Court Justice Louise Gruner Gans signed a consent order that will provide over $780,000 to thousands of consumers who were deceived into purchasing new dishwashers.

"My office will aggressively pursue cases to protect consumers from actions taken by corporations that make profits by deceiving consumers," Spitzer said.

Spitzer’s lawsuit, which was commenced in March 2000, alleged that GE deceived thousands of consumers into buying brand new dishwashers by concealing the availability of a quick, inexpensive repair that would prevent fires in the recalled models.
Over the course of this protracted litigation, the New York Supreme Court issued three separate orders finding that GE engaged in fraud and deception in violation of the New York consumer protection laws. GE appealed those orders, but the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court unanimously upheld each in a decision issued this past February.

In April 2003, as required by the court, GE published notices in newspapers throughout the state, inviting defrauded consumers to submit claim forms to the court-appointed third party administrator, the Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan New York (BBB).

Following review of the claims by the BBB, GE is now required to mail checks to nearly 2,260 New Yorkers - providing them with refunds for the price of new dishwashers they were duped into purchasing. The total restitution that GE will pay consumers amounts to an average of $346 per consumer. In addition, GE will pay $650,000 in civil penalties.

Any consumer still owning a recalled dishwasher that has not been rewired should discontinue using it immediately to avoid the risk of fire. Consumers should contact GE Appliances at 1-800-599-2929 if they wish to obtain a free rewiring of their dishwasher or a rebate certificate under GE’s Supplemental Dishwasher Recall (notice attached).

This case was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Joy Feigenbaum and Christine Morrison of the Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau.



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