CONSUMER CATCH-UP: Yaris vehicles recalled, report claims FDA buried malfunction reports

ByMichael Finney and Simone Chavoor KGO logo
Thursday, May 23, 2019
CONSUMER CATCH-UP: Yaris vehicles recalled, report claims FDA buried malfunction reports
CONSUMER CATCH-UP: Toyota recalls Yaris vehicles due to faulty airbags, a new report claims the FDA helped bury medical device malfunction reports, and consumers love their subscription services -- and want even more.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Toyota recalls Yaris vehicles for faulty airbags

43,221 model year 2015 to 2017 Toyota Yaris hatchbacks are being recalled due to airbags that might fail to deploy.

Faulty wire harnesses inside the airbag sensors within the front doors could potentially cause the airbags to fail, or to deploy improperly. Airbag failure increases the risk of injury in the event of a crash.

Toyota will officially begin the recall on June 10, 2019, and will notify affected owners. Yaris owners will be able to take their cars to a dealer for a free replacement of the airbag wire harness assembly. For more information, consumers may contact Toyota customer service at 1-888-270-9371.

FDA allowed medical device manufacturer to keep malfunction reports private, according to report

A new report by Kaiser Health News claims that the Food and Drug Administration allowed a medical device manufacturer to keep reports of a faulty product out of the public eye.

Medical device manufacturers are required to report issues with their products to the FDA, which are logged in a public database. However, the FDA can grant exemptions to keep those records private.

The Sprint Fidelis, a device that acts as an internal heart defibrillator, was found to cause random shocks to patients, as well as fail to activate during actual cardiac emergencies. The Sprint Fidelis was recalled in 2007 - after already being implanted in over 268,000 patients.

The manufacturer, Medtronic, was granted an FDA reporting exemption, allowing them to keep about 50,000 malfunction reports from becoming public. The FDA gave Medtronic a "remedial action" exemption, which is allowed when "the manufacturer has initiated reasonable and appropriate actions to mitigate the problem(s)" and further reports of harm will not "provide any significant new data," according to FDA spokeswoman Deborah Kotz. "Remedial action" reports are available through Freedom of Information Act requests, which can take almost two years to process.

One-third of Americans plan to sign up for more subscription services, study says

Consumers' enthusiasm for subscription services like Netflix and Spotify is showing no signs of slowing down, according to a new report.

The report by eMarketer states that one-third of Americans believe they'll sign up for even more subscription services over the next two years. Americans already have an average of three subscription services, up from 2.5 five years ago.

This report belies industry worries that consumers will reach "subscription fatigue" and begin paring down the number of services they pay for. Only 7 percent of those polled said they planned to cut down on their subscriptions.

The study did not include their definition of a "subscription service." However, the researchers did ask consumers about their interests in different kinds of subscriptions. 57 percent said they were interested in video-on-demand, and 38 percent were interested in music. The next most popular subscriptions were grocery and meal delivery services, software and data storage services, and beauty product subscriptions.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.