WASHINGTON, D.C. — A fan manufacturer is paying up to settle claims that it failed to immediately report issues to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) about one of its products that has been linked to a death.

On Thursday, the CPSC announced Vornado Air LLC agreed to pay a $7.5 million civil penalty. The penalty surrounds allegations around its VH101 Personal Vortex heater.

The CPSC said between 2009 and 2015, Vornado manufactured, distributed and offered for sale approximately 350,000 VH101 Personal Vortex Heaters. During that time, Vornado received and investigated multiple reports of overheating and fire involving the heater.

Recalled VH101 Personal Vortex Heater
Recalled VH101 unit

The VH101 unit was recalled in April 2018. In January of that year, the CPSC said Vornado reported that a 90-year-old Minnesota man died in a fire involving a Vornado space heater. The company re-announced the recall in August after the company confirmed that the fire involved a VH101 unit.

The CPSC said Vornado failed to report the incidents to the CPSC in a timely manner. Federal law requires firms to report to CPSC “immediately after obtaining information reasonably supporting the conclusion that a product contains a defect which could create a substantial product hazard, or creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death.”

“The law is clear and exists for a reason,” said CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord after Vornado agreed to pay a separate $500,000 civil penalty regarding another recalled unit in 2008. “Any delay puts consumers at greater risk. The quicker we know about a dangerous product, the faster we can act to protect consumers.”

Vornado responded in the settlement denying that it failed to notify the commission in a timely manner. The company claims that at all relevant times, they had a product safety compliance program and took reasonable measures to monitor field reports and evaluate returned units.

The settlement requires Vornado to maintain a compliance program and maintain internal controls designed to ensure timely, complete, and accurate reporting to CPSC. Vornado also agreed to file annual reports for three years regarding the compliance program and system of internal controls.