Thursday, SharkNinja issued a recall for 1.1 million BL660 blenders. The blender has a stackable blade assembly, which apparently does not lock into place. So people take the lid off to pour out the contents of the blender and get razor sharp, samurai (or maybe shark's teeth) blender blades falling out with their smoothies. Just to be clear, you blend things up like you do with any other blender, but unlike darn near every other blender, these blades don't appear to be locked into place. As a result, when you take the lid off to pour your tasty concoctions, the blending blades pour out, too. If they don't cut you on the way down, they might get you as you're fishing them out of your milkshake.
Who makes this product?
The product is manufactured by Hai Xin Technology of Shenzhen, China. It is distributed in the U.S. by SharkNinja Operating LLC.
Which products are affected by the recall?
There are 12 models involved in the recall. They are as follows (model numbers should be located on the base of the blender):
- BL 660s: BL660, BL660B, BL660C, BL660QCN, BL660QPL, BL660W, BL660WM
- BL 663s: BL663, BL663CO
- BL 665s: BL665QBK, BL665QCN, BL665QWH
How widespread is the problem?
The blenders were sold at Walmart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and a lot of other national retailers. Given that over a million units were sold, there are a lot of people who have purchased this dangerous blender. SharkNinja reports that 53 people have suffered lacerations from the blender. There are no reported fatalities or lawsuits.
What can be done?
The company recommends that the product only be used with the lid on, thereby taking advantage of the locked pour spout. If there are any questions customers are encouraged to call 877-593-5140. If you got this as an unwanted wedding gift, hopefully you can just return it and not have to start off your new life together by dodging blender blades.
What this means?
It means that SharkNinja is pretty darn cheap to put out a potentially dangerous product and try to make things right with new instructions. You have to love companies that screw up and use the old, "it's not us, it's you" line. Certainly, the problem isn't found in a stackable blade assembly that doesn't lock into place (or work like every other blender in the history of blenders). No, we the consumer just don't know how to use it correctly. I'll give them points for audacity. If it were me, I would recommend bugging the heck out of them until they offered you a replacement product or a refund. If you still have the receipt, return the darn thing and let Target and Walmart go to bat for you. If you absolutely love the blender, then I suppose it can be operated safely with their new safe operating instructions.
I do not get this from a legal standpoint either. They have manufactured what appears to be a defective, unnecessarily dangerous blender. By refusing to do a proper recall and leaving it on the market, SharkNinja seems to be exposing the company to potential negligence claims as well. More simply put, when a manufacturer sells a product that proves to be dangerous, said manufacturer can be held "strictly liable" for their defective product, which basically means that they can be held liable just because the product was dangerous, not because they did anything malicious or negligent. But for them to acknowledge that the product is unsafe and then leave it on the market, that smacks of negligence. And it will be pretty hard for them to argue that they didn't know that the product was dangerous, when they already have reports of people being injured by the blender. Leaving it on the market, after publicly admitting it's dangerous makes very little sense.
In fairness to SharkNinja, unlike a lot of other companies, at least they have the decency to admit that there is a problem, when a lesser company may have attempted to cover it up. I mean after all, it is a blender, it is going to have sharp pieces, and people will get cut. To be clear, this is far from the worst thing that a company has done to consumers. If I were to put it on a scale ranging from not holding a door open to drunken uncle at Thanksgiving dinner, this would probably come it at double dipping chips. I'm not referring to the severity of the consequences of this blender hurting people, just saying that in the realm of corporate malfeasance, this isn't the Enron scandal. For $140 dollars a pop, it seems like the company could do a little better than a new set of instructions to "remedy" their poor design. However, despite their honesty, for which we strongly commend them, the inadequacy of their response is something for which we rebuke them.