Sears Settles "Stove Tipping" Class Action Lawsuit

Sears has settled a class action lawsuit brought against them for stoves that easily tip over and, well, injure and even kill people.

The AP says:

Consumer groups, which were not involved in the lawsuit, say more than 100 people have been killed or injured from scalding and burns caused by hot foods and liquids spilling from the stove top, or from being crushed by the weight of a stove that has tipped over.

Those groups insist Sears and other retailers who deliver a stove often fail to connect “anti-tip brackets” meant to prevent injuries by keeping the appliance stable if a sufficient amount of weight is placed on an open door or storage bin drawer.

Consumer groups pointed to the use by stove-makers of lighter-gauge steel since the 1980s to cut costs, making those appliances more prone to tip over when weight was applied to the oven door.

Consumers will get an anti-tip device installed for free, $100 gift card if Sears already installed the device, or a $50 gift card towards a new “regularly priced” Sears stove if they don’t want the device.

The lawyers, of course, will split $17 million in fees… and guess what? They don’t get a $17 million gift card.

If you have a Sears stove and would like to participate in the settlement, click here.

Sears Settles Lawsuit Over Stoves [AP]


Edit Your Comment

  1. theblackdog says:

    *shrug* Apparently my stove in my apartment is decades old, but it already has a hook that holds a chain connected to the wall, so it’s not going to fall anytime soon.

  2. Nighthawke says:

    This is old hat, stoves tipping like that. Some engineer forgot that they need to install counterweights in a stove to prevent it from falling, or the installer needs to fasten it securely to adjacent counter tops using beefy bolts or screws.

    Those doors are HEAVY, and their springs and hinges reflect it.

  3. UpsetPanda says:

    I had no idea stoves could tip that easily…or that stoves there that nefarious.

  4. UpsetPanda says:

    @UpsetPanda: *were that nefarious.

  5. shan6 says:

    Hmm, a hundred bucks seems like fair compensation for excruciating burns, or broken legs. And, psh, some of them are dead so why should they be included? It isn’t like THEY need any gift cards!

    Good thing these lawyers get to split 17 mil, I don’t want to live in a world where lawyers aren’t compensated to the fullest extent allowed.

  6. l951b951 says:

    The reporter irritates me. He is almost screaming at the end of the piece to make viewers feel a sense of panic.

  7. B says:

    You used them to cook your food, now they aim to cook you. Tonight on Fox: When Stoves attack!

  8. It’s like a scene from Stephen King’s Maximum Overdrive.

  9. socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

    Is it just me or did anyone else notice in the video to get the stove to actually tip over, a person had to stand on the door?

    Now, who in their right mind would open a stove door then stand on it? If you do this with the thing going, either the burners or the oven, then you deserve to be hurt. Its darwin awards right there. The stove is a cooking device not a step stool.

  10. Juliekins says:

    Funny, I just had Sears install a stove at my house yesterday. They were on time! And friendly! And they brought the right stove! They even attached the power cable for free even though that’s technically “installation” that I have to pay extra for. I’m still not sure they actually work for Sears.

    One of the delivery guys handed me the anti-tip bracket and said “do you want me to install this?” I said no. He said “okay then, when we call tell them you’re going to install it yourself.”

    I don’t have any kids and I don’t make a habit of climbing on my stove, but I’m kind of surprised they’re not more insistent about this–especially if they’re getting sued.

  11. toddiot says:

    @l951b951: I was thinking the exact same thing.


    /CNN, duh

  12. shan6 says:

    @socalrob: I wouldn’t say the person stood on the door, it just looked like they applied pressure with their foot, definitely not their whole body weight though.

  13. timstep says:

    As someone who works in settlement administration of class action lawsuits like this, I can tell you that most likely the named plantiffs (those who started and filed the claim) will not be getting just a gift card. Since the burden fell on them to start case against Sears, they will be compensated better.

    Also, if anyone did have family member die because of this, they should exclude themselves from the class action and file their own suit, or object to the terms, which will usually lead to a larger payout. If you bought this item and never had an issue, than a repair and gift card seems fair.

  14. shan6 says:

    @timstep: I was just making a joke, didn’t mean much by it.

  15. brendanm14 says:

    you can’t get both a repair and a gift card if you already have the oven.

    Please select only one of the following:
    A. I wish to receive free installation of a Range Stability Device.
    B. I decline free installation of a Range Stability Device, and request a non-transferable, $50 gift card that can be used toward the purchase
    and delivery of a new regular price range at any Sears retail or online establishment.

    C. I wish to receive reimbursement of the amount I paid (up to $100) to have the Range Stability Device installed.

  16. MercuryPDX says:

    An article where “Tipping” is NOT appreciated. :)

    @FitJulie: I have the same bracket in a zip lock with all the cabinet locks I removed when I moved into my house.

  17. colamit says:

    I just had a stove installed by best buy recently. They refused to install the anti-tip bracket even though I explicitly requested it. Looks like they need to be sued too.

    Every homeowner should make sure the anti-tip bracket is installed because if they don’t it will show up on home inspection reports when you sell the home if it’s not installed. And trying to track down the part and get it installed during the midst of moving chaos isn’t fun.

  18. ironchef says:

    stove manufacturers have been shipping anti tipping devices for over a decade.

    What the hell is with these people?

  19. Juliekins says:

    @MercuryPDX: You want to know something else funny? I tipped them $10 each. (I hope that doesn’t make me a cheapskate. It seemed appropriate at the time and they acted like they appreciated it.) They were nice guys and did their job well.

  20. clevershark says:

    Just when you thought it was safe to enter the kitchen… this might just be the tip of the iceberg!

  21. deadlizard says:

    There are little things as useless as a Sears gift card.

  22. My new oven came with a picture suggesting I not store my baby on the open oven door, because the stove might tip over and eat the baby. And I was like, Dammit, now what am I going to do for a cradle?

    (Probably it would have been a less-silly warning label had it shown a TURKEY being put on the open oven door, since I bet that’s what people do that tips it over.)

  23. MercuryPDX says:

    @FitJulie: Since they traditionally do not get tipped, I’m sure they appreciated it. :)

  24. chiieddy says:

    My stove was purchased in 2001. As far as I know it has no bracket or any other stabilizing mechanism. My husband put a lot of his weight on that door and it didn’t move. Maybe GE uses better metal than Kenmore?

  25. I-Like-Cheese says:

    As a Lowe’s installer, we don’t install the anti-tip device. We are required to inform the customer that it is not installed and that they should install it to be safe. The reason Lowe’s doesn’t install them is because of possible damage to the floor. When you get home delivery with Lowe’s, you get delivery and set-up/clean out of your new appliance and removal/haul away for the price of the delivery. Of course most Lowe’s don’t do gas hookups or anything that isn’t freestanding. But for $65 it’s still better than Sears!

    @Fitjulie We always appreciate the tips no matter how much it is. Most people don’t tip, so it’s nice when someone does.

  26. pigeonpenelope says:

    i don’t know if metal has anythign to do with so much as where most of the weight is kept. it sounds both top heavy and side heavy. my oven isn’t bracketed to my wall and it doesn’t tip.

    that is so scary, a tipping oven/stove.

  27. MYarms says:

    Why on earth would you put anything on your open oven door? Doesn’t that sound a little moronic?

  28. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    It’s like cow-tipping for city-dwellers!

  29. Paul says:

    So people get to sue because when they violate the safety warnings in the manual, something bad happens. And now thanks to the money Sears had to spend in litigation, the cost of everything they sell to anyone goes up a bit.

    By the way, 4,896 people actually took the time to opt out of the settlement.

  30. cmdr.sass says:

    I sure wish they would pay those lawyers in gift cards. Does anyone really think they did $17 million worth of work?

  31. Paul says:

    @cmdr.sass: Unfortunately, (and I don’t know if Consumerist has covered this, but they should) the lawyers’ fees are often calculated based on the amount of money “made available” to the class instead of how much the class eventually collects.

    For example, in another class action lawsuit against Sears (Moody vs. Sears) the lawyers got $1 million and the 150,000 members of the class, nationally, collected a whopping $2,402 in total. Not each. Total.

    I’m glad Consumerist at least acknowledged some of this ridiculousness in the original post, but I wish it would have been as critical of people violating safety warnings on these stoves as it would be of a small business owner violating a credit card agreement by requiring a minimum sale amount. Especially since this class action did nothing for consumers but make prices go up.

  32. Juliekins says:

    @I-Like-Cheese: I get paid to sit at a computer all day. I admire people who do physical labor for a living, because I don’t think I’d hold up very well. Guys(?) like you and guys like those installers do hard work and risk injury so people like me can have shiny new appliances. You and they deserve to be compensated for doing a good job, imho.

    FWIW they did mention not wanting to crack my ceramic tile by installing the anti-tip device. Our old stove didn’t have an anti-tip device and it wasn’t an issue in the home inspection when we bought the house, but I will make sure I hang onto the anti-tip bracket for just in case when we sell.

  33. wellfleet says:

    @colamit: They are required to get you to sign a waiver if they don’t install the anti-tip bracket. This installation is FREE when you purchase delivery & hook-up (which is free with a stove over $499) and must be done unless the customer declines. Did you only pay for drop-off delivery? Otherwise, call the store and get it installed. They have drills and should be ready to go. Unless you have marble floors…

  34. synergy says:

    @socalrob: ROTFLMAO Thanks. It’s exactly what I was thinking. WTF are you doing that you cause a friggin STOVE to tip over. Sheesh. You deserve to fry.

  35. dharma261 says:

    Not reading the rest of comments…..we purchased our product and installed them ourselves and we followed the instructions which included the “TIP Instructions”. My opinion is that they should follow the instructions of the manual. Which everyone should do. Including installers.

  36. mike says:

    I’m more interested in the $18 mil these lawyers are getting.

    Unbelievable. Class-action lawsuits used to help the consumer…now it just screws them to the wall with gift cards and a small, cash settlement.

  37. john_nyc says:

    So, is the stove tipping the fault of the manufacturers for using lighter gauge steel or the installers for not using the bracket?

  38. NotATool says:

    Since when did class action suits ever help the consumer, other than a token cash amount, gift card or even a stupid coupon? The big winners in the class action suits are the lawyers. Class action suits are really cash feeding frezies for the lawyers.

  39. ClayS says:

    I received the details of the class action settlement in the mail a while ago. Our Sears range apparently was deemed prone to tipping.

    A $50 certificate towards the purchase of a new Sears range at the regular price is BS as far as I’m concerned.

    Personally, I think it would take a great deal of effort, like standing on the open door to get the range we have to tip. I have to wonder how many times this actually happening…and how.

  40. wellfleet says:

    I work in the appliance dep’t at Best Buy and one afternoon I got to test my reflexes and sprinting when a little Satan-spawn started running around the dep’t, opening and slamming everything he could, and decided to pull down a stove door and lay across it. The stove started to tip over and I hauled ass and pushed it back before it crushed him.
    1. I thought, that would be the lawsuit of the decade. Nothing’s worse publicity than “Best Buy stove murders toddler.”
    2. Parents, please control your children. Not only can they damage items worth thousands of dollars, they can seriously hurt themselves.
    3. Cheap stoves can tip over if you’re clumsy. They weigh less than 100 lbs., I push them around all day, and some of them are so cheaply built, especially under $400-$500, that they may pose a significant risk.

  41. Paul says:

    @john_nyc: It’s the fault of the consumer for ignoring the safety warnings and placing weight, often bodyweight, on the open door of a stove.

  42. cerbie says:

    Sounds to me like those more than 100 people should be checked out for progeny, and if none, given Darwin Awards.

    if a sufficient amount of weight is placed on an open door or storage bin drawer.

    If you are injured for being such an idiot as to used the drawer or oven door as step stools, you deserve whatever you get.

    I would be pissed, too, if I were in on this, and got a gift card for Sears. Why does that happen? The whole point is to…oh, wait, make lawyers money, never mind.