Warning: Carbon Monoxide Detector Not a Substitute for Life Insurance

This is my favorite wacky warning of all time. Usually, if you ponder a warning, you can figure out why it’s there, even seemingly ridiculous warnings. So, for example, a warning on a heavy-duty power drill to not use it as a dental drill is probably there because some wayward consumer actually attempted to use it that way.

But I’ve never been able to conceive of a reason–even an unreasonable fear of lawsuits-based reason–why this manufacturer of home carbon monoxide detectors felt compelled to warn purchasers that the product is not a substitute for life insurance. If you have any ideas, send them along. Here’s the warning:

Carbon Monoxide detectors are not a substitute for life insurance. Though these detectors warn against increasing CO levels, we do not warrant or imply in any way that they will protect lives from CO poisoning.  Homeowners and rents must still insure their lives.

There’s another issue with this warning. Why would any consumer want to buy a carbon monoxide detector that the manufacturer is not willing to warrant, or even “imply in any way,” will protect them from CO poisoning (the advertised purpose and utility of the product).

1 comment to Warning: Carbon Monoxide Detector Not a Substitute for Life Insurance

  • Hershele Ostropoler

    It doesn’t protect you from CO poisoning. It alerts you to toxic levels of CO. You still have to protect yourself.

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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