Retail giant Harbor Freight Tools has been forced to recall over 1.1 million folding pocket knives. The company received 4 reports that the $5 made-in-China products had caused lacerations requiring medical intervention.
According to the U.S. CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission), Harbor Freight Tools recalled the Gordon Folding Knife on Oct. 4 because “The locking mechanism can fail to engage in extending the blade, posing a laceration hazard.” According to the report, consumers can receive a refund for the product.
— Harbor Freight Tools (@HarborFreight) October 4, 2019
In addition to photographs of the product, the CPSC provided a thorough description of the product to aid consumers in identifying the item: “The knife is stainless steel with black metal on the handle and five cutouts on each side of the handle. The knife measures about 3-inches. The knife also has a silver-colored metal belt clip attached to the back of the handle. ‘China’ is printed on one side, and ‘Stainless Steel’ is printed on the other side of the knife blade.”
According to its website, the CPSC “…is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction.” The commission notes that fatalities, injuries, and damage to property from consumer product incidents cost the United States more than $1 trillion each year. The CPSC website lists a plethora of products that pose risks to consumer safety. They range from fire-hazard dishwashers to children’s water bottles that could cause a child to choke if the drinking nozzle were to detach.
Critical Product Reviews
Deeply critical reviews of the Gordon Folding Knife have been circulating online for some time, however. In a July 2017 product review video titled “Testing The Cheapest Folding Knife From Harbor Freight” on the YouTube channel Jake’s Custom Knives, for example, the locking mechanism of the Gordon Folding Knife appears to fail immediately upon use.
CPSC states that Harbor Freight Tools initiated the product recall then collaborated with the CPSC to expedite the recall and remedy processes.
Harbor Freight Tools
Under the motto “Quality Tools at Discount Prices,” Harbor Freight Tools offers its products at more than 1,000 stores across America. What began in 1977 as a small, family-run mail-order tool business in California now has over 20,000 employees, and reported revenue of some $5 billion in 2018.
Given its position in the market as a discount retail chain, it is unclear what impact such product recalls might have on customer attitudes toward the business.