May 06, 2009

Hey! They're trying to burst my bubble!

Stable? Sure I'm stable... oh, you mean the fitness ball?

I'm slow. You all probably read this already at Fit Bottomed Girls. (Or from ABC News.)

EB Brands, a company that makes fitness balls for Bally Total Fitness, Everlast, Valeo and Body Fit Fitness Balls, is "recalling" their fitness balls. Turns out these fitness balls can burst if they're not inflated properly -- but the proper instructions on how to inflate them are not included with the product, and the balls are sold as "unbreakable."

Does that make any kind of sense to you?

The Consumer Product Safety commission says that 47 people have complained about the fitness balls bursting since 2000. It's not a situation of people using fitness balls that are not suited for their weight. One woman, just over 100 pounds in weight, had the fitness ball she was sitting on burst when she was lifting weights.

And it gets better. (Or worse.) ABC says, "Though the action is termed a recall, EB Brands won't actually be taking the balls back unless they have burst." According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, "Consumers should contact EB Brands to receive a copy of the updated instructions on how to safely inflate the ball."


So, let me see if I have this straight. If I buy one of these things, the label on the box still says "unbreakable." If I find out the hard way (ouch!) that the ball isn't unbreakable, they'll send me a new one -- so I can break some other part of my body? Will they take the "unbreakable" label off the box first? They won't send me the corrected instructions unless I know to ask for them. (They have apparently just started shipping boxes containing the new instructions; i.e. if a box is already sitting out on a shelf in a store, it doesn't contain the latest instructions or carry any indication that there's a problem.) If I don't know to ask for the corrected instructions, then what I don't know might hurt me.

Okay, some people need to go back to Customer Relations school and polish their image while they're at it. This is not good PR.

Yes, this IS the Complaints Department. How can I help (myself to) you?


32 comments:

  1. I saw this on ABC news. I posted about it the other day too because I like to use these balls for variety & to change things up. Absolute craziness about the "return policy" & the fact that it said unbreakable! What are these people thinking & why aren't the gyms complaining! So, you have to have the dang thing burst & possibly result in injury to get a return. I think they ought to fire their lawyers, customer relations, marketing & the whole lot of them!

    I don't think they would want to run into me if one of their balls burst while I was using it!!! They might lose their own balls!

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  2. Oh good, Jody! I'm glad it's not just me who can't see the sense here.

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  3. Yeah, I read a report of one guy whose ball burst (oh, the 12-year-old in me is giggling) while he was doing flys with 40-lb dumbbells. He required surgery on both elbows. I shiver just thinking about it. i used to do a lot of weight work on the Swiss balls but now I stick to the benches!

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  4. Charlotte, I know the feeling exactly. It's a sad and painful story, but my inner 12-year-old wants to snigger. (Well, inner 12-year-olds are like that.)

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  5. That's gotta be the dumbest thing I ever heard. Have these people no legal department? I think they'll change their mind with a lawsuit or two, recall all the balls, broken or not. Unbreakable! Don't they do quality control?

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  6. ok Im stuck think the phrase BALL BUSTER, confident it would happen to me and thankful Ive always feared the balls (insert childish joke here).

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  7. I know someone with a really big arse and other enlarged body parts that uses one of these. hehehe.

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  8. "ball buster"! hehehe Yes my inner twelve year old also wants to come out and play!

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  9. Picky picky picky! I can't believe all you folks would want to be able to return an exercise product just because it might explode.

    What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!

    Or puts you in the hospital with major head injuries, broken bones, and internal bleeding.

    (Who came up with that dumb expression anyway?)

    I can't believe the stability ball people could be that dumb and evil.

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  10. OMG. You'd think that they would at least want to save money and replaced them all (as in, if they pay for surgeries and long term damage), even if they don't want to be decent human beings! People amaze me sometimes, although I like it much more in the other direction instead of with their greed and stupidity.

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  11. Crabby.. it was Nietzsche that said "that which does not kill you makes you stronger" :) Why do I know that? not from some class, but from a HS rowing t-shirt that I had!

    Now I wonder if the ball I've got, which was labeled "antiburst" is safe! shoot...

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  12. I just KNEW there was a reason not to use those damned balls!!

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  13. Complaint Department: “I'm sorry Madame, but you didn't put in the correct type of air. Warranty is honored if it is inflated with spring fresh oxygen from a Nordic country that has white lilies growing only during the month of May”.

    Of course the continuation here is that even thought the "unbreakable" ball burst, they will replace with the exact same one that blew up in the first place with instructions.

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  14. Follow up from me. I really like using the swiss/stability ball for certain things but I don't use it with weights & especially not 40 pound ones!!!!! You are asking for it even if there is not a recall! I like it for some core, ab, leg, push-up work but just my body weight for most. Nothing heavy weight wise for sure!

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  15. That's so backasswards. I don't even understand! haha Basically, if you don't want to hurt yourself but your ball has yet to "burst" on you, you should just toss it OR risk hurting yourself so it can burst and then you must go to the trouble of returning it (potentially when you get out of the hospital) for $13? crazy. Companies should really just do the right thing. ARGH.

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  16. Eek! Crazy customer care - just waiting for the lawyers to get a hold of this one and they may change their policy.

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  17. I want to know who the person is that keeps the paperwork and box for the inflatable ball??? I mean I don't know about anyone else but once I inflated it I threw the box away, I would have no idea if the ball I own is the one in question. If I kept a box for everything I owned there would be fifty million boxes occupying my home.

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  18. I have a Swiss stability ball and it feels pretty sturdy. I had originally bought a different one - don't remember the brand, but it was what I could find in local department stores - and it felt way too soft. The package said 'anti-burst' but I didn't trust it so I took it back and ordered the Swiss ball, which is what I had used at the gym.

    I think it's pretty crappy of them not to recall all of the faulty balls (impossible to avoid giggling over that phrase).

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  19. As I remember it, products used to come sans warnings. Now we need to be warned about everything. Have you looked at all the information on a ladder? How did we manage to survive all these killing machines?

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  20. Dr. J, sometimes the safety warnings can be absurd, yes.

    My curling iron came with the safety warning "do not use while asleep." I can't imagine what kind of lawsuit prompted that one.

    But if you can actually hurt yourself by using the product the way it's meant to be used ... while awake... shouldn't there be some warning?

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  21. I don't know if there needs to be a warning on the ball (though I'm sure there will due to worry over lawsuits), but it's almost laughable that the product got through their own legal department with the word 'unbreakable' intact.

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  22. dragonmamma/naomiMay 7, 2009 at 10:00 AM

    Tom, I wants to get me summa that Nordic Air! Does it come in bottles? Is it available at Whole Foods Market?

    Now I've got that old AC/DC song stuck in my head..."he's got big balls, and she's got big balls, but we've got the biggest, balls of them all!"

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  23. I could not agree more! And this is why I use a Bosu. Much less distance to fall.

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  24. I think I'm a pretty smart person, but I kept rereading the first few paragraphs and scratching my head. A recall, but they're not actually recalling-- ahhhh!

    Goodbye, ball. Back to rolling a tire with a stick for fun and fitness...

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  25. Don't you just love being a consumer?! NOT! Vee at www.veegettinghealthy.blogspot.com

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  26. I figure my butt is so big that if the ball bursts out from underneath my ass, I won't know the difference.

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  27. One Problem with SB's are that people do stupidly, crazy exercises on them. "Benching" with substantial weight is really not worth it. Standing on them even more stupid!

    Bodyweight exercises on a SB are great, but even then you should check the ball now and again for any dings that could pop. I think I will celebrate today and do some walk outs on mine!

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  28. Uhhh....I work at Bally Total Fitness, and I'm teaching a boot camp class tonight in which I planned to use the stability balls! Ack!

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  29. It's not just CR and PR that need some help, Merry, IMO - it's also Product Development. They didn't even include the "How to Properly Inflate the Ball" instructions in the first place? And then marketing goes and labels them impervious?

    Truly they must think their balls are unbreakable.

    (Aaand I'm coming out to play with the other 12-year-olds.)

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  30. Wow. That's pretty unbelievable, actually. How long do you think it will take before someone sues? Bet they'll change the labeling THEN.

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  31. I work in PR and it's clear what's going on here. Some days we just want to hear some great stories about how you explained away that rubber burn. I myself am running out of excuses...

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