Taurus has released statements through Shooting Sports Retailer regarding their recent settlement of a class-action lawsuit regarding several its pistol models, all of which were susceptible to discharge when dropped. Anthony Acitelli is the CEO of Taurus USA, the US distributor for Taurus International products. From Shooting Sports Retailer:
Taurus officials readily admit their handguns have suffered from poor quality, unresponsive customer service and bad PR, but Acitelli said the company has owned up to its mistakes and made a change for the better.
“A company that stands behind its product and is willing to do the right thing for the customer actually gives us credibility,” Acitelli said. “If you look at cases where companies had safety notices and recalls, the general public looks on that favorably and says this is a company that’s a good corporate citizen, that’s taking responsibility for their products, and we’re doing the right thing.”
“If you make a million guns, these things can happen,” Acitelli added.
Neither the settlement nor the allegations in the case include any of the newer Taurus G2 model pistols, the company claims.
An attorney close to the class action lawsuit alleging safety flaws in some Taurus pistols tells Shooting Sports Retailer the settlement agreement could impact as many as 966,000 handguns.
The lawyer — who has represented several clients in personal injury cases against Taurus — said the settlement includes a requirement that Taurus provide training to owners of the nine pistol models specified in the class action lawsuit on how to avoid unintended discharges.
“Our concern is that you’re not going to have 966,000 guns sent back,” the attorney said on the condition of anonymity. “So we want them to be able to see how to properly store the pistol so this won’t happen.”
The attorney confirmed the training was jointly developed by Taurus and plaintiff’s lawyers and includes never carrying the pistols with a round in the chamber unless the shooter is at the range. The training will be delivered via video and in written form to anyone who requests it, he added.
Acitelli made other miscellaneous comments in a follow-up article:
On the company’s reputation among consumers and Taurus retailers.
“We’re hearing from the marketplace [on] the quality concerns. We don’t get responses like we used to even a year ago. What we did here coming through the door is to contain the quality control of the product from Brazil and we did the re-pricing action in the marketplace.”
“Once you re-price something and the value proposition is there, and people understand what they’re getting for what they’re paying, a lot of the things that they were complaining about had to do more with price and value proposition than it did with [the] actual quality. If you’re selling a $500 product that the consumer sees as a $200 product, then they start picking out the things they perceive as not being of value. We’ve turned the nose up on the airplane. We’re back in business and we’ve got a ton of market share and we’ve got a ton of our customers back.”
On the popularity of the Taurus Curve.
“The Curve is a pleasant surprise. It’s outside the box, it’s different, and any time you do something that different you kind of cross your fingers and say, ‘OK, we’ve done our homework. The market’s told us there’s a place for this product.’ But when you’re the innovator and you’re out in front, there’s a big swing.”
“I would say the Curve has been a success. The sales have been three times what we thought they’d be and the shipments are probably three times less than we thought it should be. We’ve got a little disconnect over supply and demand, which isn’t a bad thing on a new product. The market buzz and the customer buzz over the Curve has been unbelievable, but I wish we could get more out the door. We just didn’t plan for this much response from the customer.”
Unfortunately, the Brazilian manufacturer’s handguns have been plagued by scandal recently having experienced two recalls prior to this lawsuit. One was the abortive release of the Taurus Curve handgun due to some guns being released without the caliber markings required by law, with the other being a Brazilian police recall of 98,000 24/7 DS pistols which had a propensity for firing accidentally. The lawsuit is based on the weapons potentially being able to fire when dropped, something that virtually all major quality brands do not suffer from. Evidence that this is a problem is available in an article written for this site last month, available here. In my opinion, there is no price point where a handgun that may fire when dropped is acceptable. I realize that some weapons will do better on the market at lower price points despite being overall lower in quality, but weapons manufacturers have a duty to release safe products regardless of their price.