Williams-Sonoma to pay $987,500 penalty

WASHINGTON (AP) — Housewares retailer Williams-Sonoma Inc. has agreed to pay a $987,500 civil penalty to settle charges that it failed to immediately report a defect in Pottery Barn wooden hammock stands.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission, which made the announcement Monday, said Williams-Sonoma already was aware of 45 incidents involving the hammock stands when it filed a report to the agency on Sept. 11, 2008, explaining the defects. The San Francisco, Calif.-based company and the government announced a recall of 30,000 of the stands about three weeks later.

The government alleged that when used outdoors, the wood in the hammock stands could deteriorate over time and break when a customer sat in the hammock. There were 12 reports of injuries requiring medical attention.

Williams-Sonoma agreed to the settlement without admitting or denying the charges.

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