My Coffee Pot Ate My Money: A Tale of Product Failure and Liability

Salmonella on EggsThe world has come a long way since houses were made of dung and sticks, and people used rocks and turtle shells as kitchen utensils. Nowadays, the products we buy have been designed, redesigned, tested, retested, and then sold on the market to greedy consumers everywhere.

Fortunately, products we buy can actually make our lives easier. Things like cars, smartphones, refrigerators, matches, and medicine have all improved the lives of hundreds of millions of people. Unfortunately, all of the products ever designed, made, and sold to people have been designed and made by imperfect human beings, who are also accident prone. When products are made by humans, chances are that somewhere along the line there will be flaws and those flaws can cause injury or death to those using the products.

The number of product liability cases has skyrocketed over the last decade. We see more people buying and being injured or killed by products that were meant to improve their lives. There have been many product liability cases involving prescription drugs, medical devices, food, vehicles, baby gear, and household appliances.

When you spend your hard earned money on something, you expect it to work as advertised when used as instructed by the manufacturer. Here are a few examples of when failing products can cost you money.

Bad Medicine

We trust the physicians, drug research and development, medical device manufacturers, and other medical specialists and engineers to provide us with medicines and devices that will make our lives easier, sustain our health, improve our health, and extend our lives. Unfortunately, as mentioned before, human beings are fallible, which means that anything they touch is bound to have a flaw…eventually.

The most recent medical product liability case involves the birth control drug called Yaz. In this case, the drug maker, Bayer was made to pay $110 million to women who’ve experienced severe side effects while taking the supposedly safe birth control pill. How could this possibly cost you money? While the women getting some of that fat payout don’t have to worry about the cost of drugs, you still purchase medicines that are made and distributed by Bayer. When Bayer has to pay out millions, where will they make up that money? That’s right! They will increase the costs of their over the counter and prescription medicines. That means more money out of your pocket.

Funky Food

Some of your favorite foods may be bad for you, literally. The FDA (Federal Food and Drug Administration) is a large government body that acts as the food and drug police for the US consumer. Sadly, while the FDA has books of regulations and restrictions on how food can be grown, packaged, manufactured, processed, transported, and sold, things still slip through the cracks.

One such incidence of this involves a batch of turkey sausage that was made using fresh turkey meat, seasonings, cheddar cheese, and plastic gloves. Anyone who has bought and eaten the turkey sausage should consider that pieces of gloves aren’t digestible, and those who have allergies to certain glove materials can become sick. So how does glove tainted turkey sausage or other tainted foods cost you money?

When people get sick because of what they eat, they are immediately faced with medical costs. With the rising costs of medicine (these costs are related to all the medical product liability and malpractice suits), you are already out hundreds of dollars when all you wanted was to enjoy a grilled sausage.

AutoBots These Are Not

So what happens when you spend $36,000 on a 2013 Ford Escape and a faulty piece of carpet makes it difficult to use the brakes while you’re driving down the highway at 75mph? If you survive, you are stuck paying the insurance, for repairs on any damaged public or private property, any medical expenses for you and anyone injured, and probably paying for a new car. The numbers start to add up quickly, and these are costs you didn’t foresee when you drove your brand new car off the lot.

Monster House(hold) Products

Your comfortable home is a haven for potential product failures. Light bulbs, baby cribs, coffee makers, non-stick cookware, irons, steam vacs, folding tables, and even flat screen TV wall mounts have all experienced products flaws that have led to product failure. In August of 2012, the manufacturer of Mr. Coffee coffee brewers issued a product recall on their single cup coffee brewer because of a risk of burn injury. Not only have you just lost the money you paid for the coffee maker (though some stores will offer a refund on recalled products), but you’ve also incurred medical expenses—more money out of your pocket.

Even with the costs listed above that are involved in product failure and the resulting liability, there are still the costs involved in pursuing a lawsuit. Can’t you just hear the money being plucked from your wallet against its will?

Have you ever been surprised by the costs incurred by a product you purchased that then failed?


My Coffee Pot Ate My Money: A Tale of Product Failure and Liability — 7 Comments

  1. There are so many issues with mass produced items. The one big issue is that not everyone has the brain capacity to use the items correctly. We end up paying for those people’s mistakes. Drugs are hard to pin down because they can only do so many clinical trials on so many people and they probably won’t catch all of the side effects. My wife was on Yaz before we had our son and she never had any issues. All of these things are usually perpetuated by lawyers looking for an easy win.

  2. Last year we went through 2 coffeemakers 🙁 They just don’t make them to last. We even tried a different brand, but I just think the mass production means that some bad apples make it through, unfortunately.

  3. When it comes to processed foods even though they are convenient in no way they are healthy. The problem is when it comes to scale. Howe are we supposed to feed every one with out processed foods? It’s a difficult question to answer I think

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