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Published: Tuesday, February 27, 2018 @ 7:48 PM
Updated: Tuesday, February 27, 2018 @ 7:48 PM
CANBERRA, Australia — Australia on Wednesday issued a compulsory recall for all 2.7 million cars fitted with defective Takata air bags in an effort to lift the auto industry's mixed efforts to fix the fault blamed for at least 23 deaths around the world.
Vehicle suppliers must recall and replace all the air bags in Australia by the end of 2020, with priority given to the most dangerous because of their design, age or the level of humidity in their environment, Assistant Minister to the Treasurer Michael Sukkar said.
"Tragically there has been one death and one case of serious injury in Australia as a result of the deployment of these air bags and the government just doesn't want to see any more," Sukkar told reporters.
Takata's air bag problem has resulted in 100 million recalls worldwide and forced the Japanese company into bankruptcy protection. The Australian government said at least 23 deaths and more than 230 serious injuries had been associated with the air bag defects.
Sukkar said the problem was considered acute in northern Australia due to its humid and hot climate. Such conditions are a known factor in the air bag's dangers and the deaths have occurred mainly in the summer in the southern United States and in tropical Malaysia.
The chemical propellant in the air bag inflators can deteriorate in hot, humid conditions and burn too fast, blowing apart a metal canister and creating shrapnel.
While some manufacturers had recalled more than 80 percent of the air bags in Australia, some were as low as 36 percent.
Globally, many manufacturers have been slow to replace the potentially deadly inflators. A report by an independent monitor said that as of Sept. 15, 2017, automakers had replaced only 43 percent since Takata recalls began in 2001.
Under the compulsory recall order, the government will be able to name manufacturers who are falling behind from July. Failure to comply with the order carries a potential fine of 1.1 million Australian dollars ($860,000) per breach.
"One of the concerns has been the divergence we've seen among manufacturers as to how actively they've sought to notify ... consumers with potential problems with their air bags," Sukkar said.
"As far as reluctance goes, again it's been very much a mixed bag. If you look at some of the manufacturers, they really use best endeavors. There are other manufacturers who didn't show the same diligence," he added.
Rod Sims, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the consumer watchdog that recommended the recall, said some manufacturers within the voluntary recall have done a bad job.
"They've been slow to communicate, slow to get the parts in and slow to replace air bags and sometimes said things to consumers that were unfortunate, like: 'Come back in a year's time and, by the way, in the meantime don't drive the car,'" Sims said.
National Roads and Motorists' Association spokesman Peter Khoury, an Australian motorists advocate, said the compulsory recall was long overdue.
"This recall has been going on for a number of years, it's clearly too long and it is absolutely vital that we get these car fixed by the deadline set by the Australian government at the end of 2020, but certainly preferably well before that," Khoury said .
Published: Friday, March 16, 2018 @ 1:55 PM
Thousands of Ohioans will head to their favorites pubs this weekend in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, but officials have a warning for residents: “Don’t drink and drive.”
From 2012 to 2016, 269 people were killed in drunk driving crashes during this holiday period, accounting for 38 percent of all crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Between midnight and 5:59 a.m., nearly 69 percent of all crash fatalities involved drunk drivers.
“I am pleading with everyone to make the safe choice of designating a driver if they plan to drink alcohol around St. Paddy’s Day,” said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church. “I hope the day is fun and exciting, and also safe for people all around the country.”
» TRENDING BUSINESS NEWS: Jewelry store company expects to close 200 stores
People are more aware of the dangers of getting behind the wheel after drinking, and thanks to increased education and enforcement, roads are safer for everyone, according to Uber. However, each day almost 29 people in the U.S. die in alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes. That’s one person every 50 minutes in 2016, according to the high administration.
Uber and AAA are offering special deals in some cities so that party goers don’t get behind the wheel after drinking.
Many AAA clubs offer safe ride services for members and non-members. If you need a safe ride home, call (800) AAA-HELP or (800) 222-4357. ArriveSafe Program begins Friday, March 16, at 6 p.m. and ends Sunday, March 18 at 6 a.m. for Montgomery County residents only. AAA has no call center involvement. Local motorists must dial 937-449-9999.
Uber is also offering free and discounted rides in some cities, so check your app to if any discount codes apply.
FIVE FAST BUSINESS READS
Published: Friday, March 16, 2018 @ 11:44 AM
Signet Jewelers, parent of Zales, Kay Jewelers, Jared and other jewelry brands, expects to close more than 200 stores by the end of fiscal 2019.
Signet will undertake a real estate review as part of a new three-year strategy plan to drive change and profitability within the company. The plan will save $85 million — $100 million is fiscal 2019, with more cost reductions of $115 million to $125 million by the end of the three-year program.
The company has seen store sales drop in recent years. Sterling Jewelers’ same store sales decreased 8.6 percent, mostly in sales of bridal merchandise. Zale Jewelry’s same store sales increased 4.3%, driven by the new Enchanted Disney collection.
Specific store locations have not been identified.
Signet isn’t the only jewelry company to close stores. Osterman Jewelers closed its location at the Mall at Fairfield Commons and locally owned Webers Jewelers closed its location in Kettering in 2016.
FIVE FAST BUSINESS READS
Published: Friday, March 16, 2018 @ 11:05 AM
— A Lima, Ohio-based mulch company is building a retail and distribution site in Moraine.
Wright Mulch has already laid the foundation for its new building just east of Dryden Road, near Heidelberg Distributing’s Moraine distribution center and south of the DMAX truck engine plant.
Mike Davis, Moraine economic development director, said the site will be relatively small to begin — about 1,500 square feet with about only five employees. But there will be room to grow, he believes.
Motorists on Dryden can already see bins for mulch at the location. The site once was home to a Delphi auto parts plant, long demolished, but a two-million-square-foot ground pad remains, Davis said.
Davis expects retail and distribution operations at the location.
Wright Consolidated Inc. controls several companies from a Lima, Ohio headquarters, including Wright Mulch, Wright Logistics, Wright Warehousing, Wright Refuse and Wright Pallet.
Published: Thursday, March 15, 2018 @ 5:17 PM
— If you’ve bought a Snuggie, a Perfect Tortilla, a Forever Comfy or any of a handful of other “as-seen-on-TV”-type products, you might be getting a refund.
Officials with the Federal Trade Commission said more than 218,000 checks are being mailed -- each worth an average of $33.14 -- to customers who bought products from the Allstar Marketing Group, a direct marketer based in New York. The company handling the refunds, Analytics, began sending refund checks to consumers Monday, according to FTC officials.
Authorities sued the company in 2015, alleging that it deceptively marketed its products by promoting a phony “buy-one-get-one-free” offer to consumers without disclosing additional costs for the deal.
In the FTC’s complaint, officials used as an example a commercial for the company’s Magic Mesh screen door.
“The company promised that it would ‘double the offer’ for consumers if they just paid ‘processing and handling fees,’” FTC officials said. “While consumers were led to believe that they would be getting two $19.95 products for ‘less than $10 each,’ in fact, the total cost with the undisclosed $7.95 ‘processing and handling’ fees jumped from the advertised price of $19.95 to $35.85.”
Officials also charged that customers who called Allstar Marketing were immediately prompted to share their billing information and were charged for products before they could indicated how many items they wanted to buy. The company would then attempt to up-sell customers using automated voice prompts and sometimes following up the process by sending consumers to other third-party sellers with even more sales pitches.
“Once all of the offers ended, consumers were not told the total number of items they’d ‘agreed’ to buy, or the total amount they would be billed,” the FTC alleged in its complaint. “Allstar even charged those consumers who hung up mid-call, not intending to complete a sale.”