CPSC Finally Announces Recall Of Buckyballs, Kicking Off Refund Process

After two years of fighting the makers of Buckyballs and related Buckycubes to get the manufacturer to issue a recall of the magnetic toys that health experts say can rip through your gut if swallowed, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says it’s reached a settlement with the owner of the former company, and consumers can start filing their refund requests.

The CPSC originally filed a lawsuit against the company behind Buckyballs, Maxfield & Oberton, back in 2012 to force it to stop selling the rare-earth magnets, saying that the tiny balls posed a health hazard, especially to children who might be inclined to chuck them down their throats.

Buckyballs replied that they’re not meant for kids, and are actually just magnetic desktop toys, and embarked on a fight to “save our balls.”

That effort was stymied when its founder, Craig Zucker, dissolved the business, forcing the CPSC to sue Zucker directly, which was the first time since 2003 that the agency had to resort to a lawsuit to initiate a recall. Usually, companies issue a recall when the CPSC says so.

It’s all over now, as the CPSC says it’s reached a settlement [PDF] has been reached with Zucker that ends all legal proceedings.

As part of the recall, the CPSC is reiterating its advice that consumers stop using Buckyballs and Buckycubes immediately… and now it’s time for those refunds, which previous reports said could reach as high as $57 million for consumers.

To get a refund, visit BuckyballsRecall.com and fill out a registration page to file a claim. The refunds will be no greater that the purchase price of the product — and make sure you count all those balls, as “partial refunds may be provided depending on the number of magnets returned.”

You’ll have until January 17, 2015 to submit a refund request.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.