Auto kit handed out by Consumer Reports recalled for safety defects

Tuesday, May 7th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Consumer Reports, the magazine that uncovers safety problems in everything from appliances to beauty products, says it's guilty of giving consumers a potentially dangerous product.

The magazine's publisher, Consumers Union, is recalling 15,000 glove compartment organizers sent as an incentive to new subscribers.

The kits contain a flashlight that can overheat and melt the case and a tire pressure gauge that gives inaccurate readings, which could lead people to improperly inflate their tires.

The kits were imported from China and also contained a pocketknife, pen and paper. The company did not test the kits until 10 readers complained, including two people who received minor burns from the flashlight.

``Consumers Union learned a valuable lesson _ we need to test any product that we offer as a premium in our own labs with the same rigor with which we rate the products you see in Consumer Reports,'' Consumers Union President Jim Guest wrote in a letter to be published in the magazine's July issue.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which announced the recall Tuesday, says customers should remove the flashlight batteries and throw out the flashlight and guar.

Consumers Union will send letters to subscribers who received the kits, along with two Consumer Reports books as a replacement gift.

The recall also will be listed in Consumer Reports' regular ``recalls'' section in the July issue.