Playing “Madoff investors” just got a little easier thanks to Mattel’s “Palm Beach Sugar Daddy” Ken doll, which will be released in April of 2010.
When the CPSIA—the toy safety law that requires independent lab tests on toys—was passed, a lot of smaller toy manufacturers complained that it was really a dirty trick by the big toy companies to increase overhead for the small ones. Now comes word that the government has secretly exempted Mattel from the law’s testing requirements—even though Mattel was responsible for 6 lead-tainted toy recalls in 2007.
Mattel’s revenues are down by 19%. Toy sales from summer movies and flagship product Barbie and Hot Wheels are down. However, the company reported today that profits are way up. So what explains the profits? Blame a visit from Price Hike Barbie.
Remember back when lead toys were all the rage? Oh, those dangerous days, when you couldn’t lick a Dora the Explorer doll without fear of memory loss! Well, Mattel and the Consumer Prouct Safety Commission (CPSC) have reached an agreement on how much Mattel should pay for importing toys that exceeded U.S. lead safety guidelines, and the amount is $2.3 million. Maybe now the CPSC can use some of that money to grease the DC wheels and get their new chair nominee confirmed.
Barbie may have to move out of the dream house or whatever — sales are down 9% and Mattel is hurting. [Bizjournals]
Jeff says his kid’s new toy, a working camera from Fisher-Price, tried to give his computer a virus when he plugged it in!
Just how much lead was in that toy blood pressure cuff Mattel were so reluctant to recall back in February? The one they said “me federal regulations and international consumer product safety standards?” Well, a reader’s scientist friend working in lab tested it on the equipment there. According to his results, the amount of lead in the paint was 4-5% lead by weight. “For reference,” he writes, “U.S. EPA HUD guidelines set the action limit for paint at 0.5% lead by weight. Any level over 0.5% is considered to be contaminated…Lead paint used on houses 50 years ago had lead content of 2-15%.”
Sales of Barbie fell 12 percent in the U.S. as the 49-year- old doll faced competition from Hannah Montana and Ganz’s Webkinz. Mattel, which recalled more than 21 million Chinese-made products in 2007, expects Chinese manufacturing costs to rise further. The yuan has climbed 10 percent against the dollar over the past 12 months, and inflation in China is near an 11-year high.
This is Round 16 in our Worst Company in America contest, Mattel vs AT&T.
Mattel profited off of selling millions of toys covered in lead paint, as well a toy with detachable, swallowable, magnet balls.
Members Of Congress Implore Mattel To "Do The Right Thing," Recall Lead-Tainted Toy Blood-Pressure Cuff
56 Members of Congress want to know why Mattel CEO Robert Eckert refuses to issue a nationwide recall for a toy blood-pressure cuff that is contaminated with lead. The affected blood-pressure cuff, sold as part of the Fisher-Price Medical Kit, was recalled exclusively in Illinois after Mattel received a complaint from State Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Legislators want Eckert to stand by a pledge made to reassure a jittery public before the holiday buying season that Mattel would ‘earn back our trust with deeds, not just with words.’
Here’s a story that makes you wonder what sort of tools the workers at Mattel’s factories use. A “shank” (a blade wrapped in electrical tape, to be exact) was found inside a sealed Polly Pocket toy purchased at Walmart.
Cadmium batteries are cheap and safe to use, but hazardous to manufacture. They’ll save you money—about $1.50 for the average cadmium-powered toy, says the Wall Street Journal.
Consumer Reports says that Fisher-Price has finished testing another toy blood pressure cuff and have found that it exceeds the Illinois lead limit for toys.
Yesterday Hasbro launched a new ad campaign in certain newspapers to promote its comparatively stellar safety record with toys—it hasn’t had any big ticket items show up in the lead-tainted parade this year (or to the date-rape afterparty) and it wants consumers to know.
Illinois has tough laws when it comes to dangerous toys, and now Fisher-Price has found itself on the wrong side of the Illinois Lead Poisoning Prevention Act, according to Consumer Reports.
A survey of global manufacturers found that only 22% have reviewed their supply chain in light of the Mattel lead toy recall situation. Of that number, 1/3 said they would change how they go about evaluating suppliers. 30% said they were sending quality inspectors to overseas plants. Most of the executives said their greatest fear in doing business with China wasn’t defective products, but that the Chinese would make knockoffs of their wares.
Mattel used to manufacture toys in the U.S., specifically in Western New York, where it still has offices. Now Rep. Louise Slaughter is calling for Mattel to repair its reputation by opening a plant in her district.
Slaughter, D-Fairport, made the suggestion to Robert A. Eckert, chairman and chief executive officer of Mattel — Fisher-Price’s parent company — in a Nov. 12 phone call.
Toys R Us has written a reassuring letter to its customers outlining its toy safety policies and threatening to discontinue selling products from any company that ignores them. Since Toys R Us still sells Mattel toys and Thomas & Friends wooden train sets, it’s hard to imagine a company that wouldn’t make the cut.