August 29, 2008

Big Phil & Teds Recall: Better Get That Folding Joint Fixed Chop-Chop!

Hey, is the CPSC muscling in on my Friday Freakout action? Regal Lager, the US distributor of Phil & Teds strollers, has issued a voluntary recall in conjunction with the CPSC covering a whopping 44,000 strollers. They're not a threat to the passengers, though, just to the poor chumps who have to fold and unfold them, i.e., the parents and nannies.

So far there have been nine reports of finger lacerations caused by the strollers' hinge locking joint, which I believe is the one on the side supports of the front seats. Regal Lager has a hinge cover repair kit and installation instructions ready and waiting [for US customers, anyway. Canada needs to go to a P&T retailer.]

The models covered are basically everything P&T has sold in the US except the Vibe: the e3 Single Buggy, e3 Twin Buggy and the sport v1 Single Buggy Strollers sold between August 2003 and August 2008, which is right now. Hey, did you notice that Regal Lager is stepping up to take responsibility for the P&T strollers sold before they got involved as distributors? How about that?

Baby gear business case writers take note: P&T has sold 44,000 strollers in the US in five years. I'd bet that 85% of that is in the last three.

Regal Lager Recalls to Repair Phil & Teds Strollers Due to Laceration Hazard [, via dt reader darrin]
Regal Lager recall notices []


Dang! I was hoping they were going to replace the whole thing for me...

Nah, you only get a new stroller if you lost at least one finger joint.

I've left comments on other P&T related posts about the poor design of these strollers. I have one and will keep suffering through it until the big kid gets a little older and can handle some longer walks on a buggy board behind our (far superior) Mountain Buggy. Our neighborhood is filled with P&T's. Many, like us, are settling for one of the only strollers that fits two kids in roughly the same footprint as a single stroller. Other than that one unique feature, the P&T is a disaster.

The fold mechanism is one of the worst aspects of the design because it's dangerous. I will say that it's not deceptively dangerous...the danger is obvious. You need to carefully press the two (hard to find) buttons and hope for the best. It's kind of like gingerly picking up a loaded mousetrap hoping that you don't disturb it while a finger is in the wrong place. I don't know how their engineers let this design out of the prototype shop. I'm even more surprised that their lawyers didn't stop it.

Among the stroller's other faults: difficult and inflexible recline, uncomfortable and flimsy handlebar, awkward canopy and terrible maneuverability. These are way too many flaws for a stroller at this price point. Some people may be happy as long as the neighbors know they dropped $700+ on their stroller but if you actually want to love your $700+ stroller, you might be disappointed.

Anyway, for those of you considering this stroller, buy one if you must, but if one kid is walking or if your doorway can handle a Mountain Buggy Urban Double, do yourself a favor and skip the P&T. We know of a couple other people forced into P&Ts after using Mountain Buggys and they're all disappointed. (For some reason, prior Bugaboo pushers don't seem to complain.)

Just so I don't come off as a total curmudgeon: I have the P&T Travel Cot (old design) and it's great...a bit cumbersome to set up and take down but it's light and small for transport. I also have the Metoo clip on high chair (before metoo was bought by P&T) and it's awesome.

Also, I will give a lot of credit to Regal Lager. They didn't design this thing and have only been involved for a short time but their service has been great. Did I mention that our P&T also had the defect in the shoulder harness loops that were sewn two tight, making it impossible to adjust them? Anyway, RL sent me two new seats within a week.

To balance the above a bit... We live up a narrow flight of stairs and have two young girls, and are really happy with our Phil & Ted's e3. It handles as well or better than other double strollers we've tried (including the Mountain Buggy Urban Double, which is also much heavier), and has held up to a lot of abuse.

On the original topic of the recall, I think a sticker should be adequate. Something like "Don't pinch your fingers in the place where it looks like you might pinch your fingers if you are not very bright."

They could also include stickers to put on cars: "Caution! Do not slam hand in car door!" and on silverware: "Caution! Do not poke steak knives in eye!"

I saw this on their website over a month ago- I wonder why it's just being released now??

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