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Question DetailsAsked on 10/30/2016

My son turned off the lamp & it caught on fire. Faulty lamp or electrical? Is there any way to tell?

I just purchased the table lamp about 2 weeks ago. You can see where the flames came out right below the switch & its entirely black all the way up the bulb too.

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1 Answer


Almost certainly NOT a problem with your household electrical - and if it were, surely the breaker for that circuit would have tripped and cannot be reset because the problem still exists. But it is VERY rare for a cross-connection in the household wiring to cause this sort of issue - usually their issues are in the household wiring or the outlet box, not at the appliance.

While it is possible a fault occurred because a power surge has damaged the lamp, I would suspect a product defect - but very difficult to tell - would take an engineering forensic examination which might or might not be abel to tell. While unplugged, take bulb out (if it is not fused into the socket) and you should be able to see if the fault was with the switch or the bulb, based on where the most severe blackening and molted metal is. Could have been a short in the bulb - especially CFL and LED bulbs these days sometimes fail in a catastrophic manner like that - shooting sparks and electrical flames and sometimes even flying glass or ceramic. Regardless of whether the bulb or lamp was the source of the problem, if flames shot out at the switch I would NOT ever use this lamp again.

Certainly take it out of service - unfortunately with the cheap imports this is becoming more and more common. Then you have two choices.

1) take back to the store you bought it from for a refund (I would not get an identical replacement, on the assumption this might be a design/manufacuring defect affecting all that model or brand). You could also take photos first and send them with a complaint to the CPSC also, but unless the store returns the lamp to the manufacturer as a defective product the evidence vanishes that way.

2) to help protect other people from a possible product defect, even though you might or might not get reimbursed for the cost of the lamp, what I would do is file a hazard complaint with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) - at the "Report An Unsafe Product" link near the bottom, holding onto the lamp till they and the manufacturer both say they don't want it or send you a label to send it to them. (CPSC complaint is sent to the manufacturer, who HAS to respond back to the CPSC and to you about the complaint). You may even find, if you search on the CPSC recall list, that that model has already been recalled there have been a lot of recent bulb and lamp recalls.

CPSC does NOT reimburse you for the product value even if you send them the damaged lamp on request - though the manufacturer is notified of the complaint and will commonly send you a prepaid label to send it back so they can investigate the flaw. They may offer (or respond to a request from you for one) a refund, may offer a product coupon for you to buy another of their products (assuming you trust that company now), or may offer to replace it with another (again, that presumes you trust it to have been a one-lamp defect, not a systemic defect with the model).

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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