Patio tables shatter without warning

November 17, 2008 7:17:20 PM PST
It's a 9-year-old mystery that may never be solved. Here is the story of the patio furniture glass table top that may shatter without warning.

Jeffery Raven of Vallejo remembers the day.

"I'd have to say it looked like an explosion," said Raven.

He's since replaced it, but it was the day the glass table top on this patio furniture exploded.

"I didn't know what to think at first. I kind of looked down and went what happened," said Raven.

That's what David Kennedy of Vacaville wondered too.

"I couldn't believe it happened. The whole set was only six months old, and it just shattered out of the blue," said Kennedy.

At least 1,100 people who complained to consumeraffairs.com say it happened to them as well.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has also received its share of complaints.

"CPSC years ago did conduct a very serious investigation of this issue. We looked at incidents. We looked at information that came into the agency. At that time it did not rise to the level of a recall," said Scott Wolfson from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

We put in a Freedom of Information Act request to find out more about the investigation, but so far the agency has not complied. But a year after the CPSC investigation was completed, complaints continue to come into 7 On Your Side and consumeraffairs.com.

"We have looked at this previously. We have information within our records, but we need more information to have it elevate to a potential recall," said Wolfson.

Michael Connolly of Glass Plus in San Francisco says any chip could lead to breakage.

"It's just very vulnerable. Temper glass very vulnerable on the edge, Strong on the surface, vulnerable on the edge," said Connolly.

He says breakage is rare, and the fact it's happened this much to the same table points to one thing.

"I'd go back to the manufacturer and they would have to look at what's gone wrong," said Connolly.

The table was distributed by JRA Furniture in southern California and manufactured by JRA Century in Taiwan.

Both companies went out of business last year, and Home Depot and K-Mart say they no longer sell that set.

In a statement e-mailed to 7 On Your Side, K-Mart says: "It takes consumer product safety very seriously. It believes these tables are safe but will work with its customers to attempt to resolve issues that would otherwise be covered by the manufacturer's warranty."

Home Depot told us it would replace shattered glass table tops or give a refund to anyone with a receipt.

The company said its "fundamental concern is safety."

Safety is also what concerns the consumers we talked with.

"I think we should do some kind of recall. Because if someone is actually at the table, sitting at the table, eating, whatever, and that shattered while someone was there, somebody's going to get injured," said Kennedy.

"If my kids had been out here playing when that had happened, somebody could have gotten real hurt," said Raven.

7 On Your Side also contacted Martha Stewart Living. The company says it only provided the aesthetic design for the product -- not the mechanical design, engineering or manufacturing of the product.

To this day, we have no definitive explanation of what's causing the glass to shatter.

Related information:

  • File a complaint with Consumer Product Safety Commission
  • Home depot 1-800-HOME DEPOT
  • K Mart 1-866-562-7848


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