OSAKA — In this week’s second revelation concerning defective products, Sanyo Electric Co. announced Friday that it will replace, free of charge, parts of refrigerators sold from 1995 with doors that could fall off.

The major consumer electronics maker made public the defects four years after it first received complaints from consumers.

Sanyo said it has received 139 reports of refrigerator doors coming off their hinges and falling to the floor. In some cases this resulted in injuries to customers and damage to goods.

Three customers suffered injuries that required hospital treatment and four suffered bruises. There were nine reports of damage to goods, Sanyo said.

The free replacement of parts covers about 180,000 Sanyo refrigerators — comprising eight models — made between February 1995 and December 1996.

Sanyo also made 18,000 other refrigerators with possible defects, which were supplied to NEC Home Electronics Ltd., Brother Industries Ltd. and Corona Corp. to be sold under their brand names, the company said.

The products in question were on the market between March 1995 and March 1998. The eight models are the SR-M42ZJ, SR-M42ZJL, SR-M423ZJ, SR-42SK, SR-42SKL, SR-45SK, SR-45SKL and SR-453SK.

Earlier this week, Sanyo President Sadao Kondo announced his resignation in an effort to take responsibility for blunders over the sale of defective solar cell systems by the firm’s subsidiary, Sanyo Clean Energy System Co.

Sanyo said an in-house investigation has found that 5,476 of approximately 23,460 solar cell systems produced by the subsidiary from November 1996 to March 1998 were not capable of generating electricity, as claimed by the subsidiary.

Sanyo has been strongly criticized for not dealing with the problem for two years after it first received complaints from an Osaka-based group representing users of the solar power system.

Similarly, Sanyo failed to reveal the problem with its refrigerators for four years, during which time some users of the defective products suffered injuries.

While apologizing for the defects, Sanyo officials claimed the firm made no announcement on the issue during this period as it considered the defects to be specific to the products over which the complaints were made.

Sanyo is the second-largest domestic refrigerator maker in Japan, following Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., having a 16 percent share of the market.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.