Warning about MultiPower Inc, Home Depot, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission


Jed Margolin

May 22, 2015



This is a story about MultiPower Inc, Home Depot, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).


It is a story that does not do credit to any of these players.





1.  The company MultiPower Inc imported the MP5500DF Dual Fuel Generator from China and sold it through Home Depot (and perhaps other companies). Dual Fuel means it can use either gasoline or propane as fuel.


2.  I bought one from Home Depot in February 2012. From then until August 2013 I ran it only periodically for testing.


3.  In August 2013 I discovered that the hose from the propane pressure regulator to the carburetor was extensively cracked and leaking propane. It appears that they used a gasoline hose. The use of a gasoline hose for propane will produce exactly this result.


4.  I reported this to Home Depot, who was completely uninterested in the matter.


5.  I filed a report with CPSC who has essentially ignored my report. According to their Web site the only thing they have done is to contact the manufacturer (actually the importer MultiPower Inc). CPSC has not received a response from MultiPower Inc, probably because MultiPower Inc has folded its tent.


6.  I sent an email to CPSC at the beginning of April 2015. I got a non-responsive computer-generated reply. I replied to their email, got another non-responsive reply, probably from another computer.


7.  I have recently found out that Home Depot had a Legal Obligation to report the defective and dangerous generator. As far as I can determine they didn’t do this. Legally they could be subject to civil and criminal penalties but, considering CPSC’s lack of interest in the matter, I doubt this will happen.


That raises the question: How many other defective and dangerous products is Home Depot selling that they know are defective and dangerous?





1.  This is the MultiPower Inc MP5500DF Dual Fuel Generator (click here) that I bought from Home Depot in February 2012.


MultiPower Inc has disappeared. The Web site at http://www.multipowerinc.com/ isn’t them. It’s some kind of advertising click-thru site.


I went to the Kansas Secretary of State Web site (http://www.kssos.org/), and under Quick Links selected “Search For Business Information” and entered “Tiger Power”. (Note that MultiPower Inc’s full name is: TIGER POWER/MULTI-POWER INC.)


It produced:



Current Entity Name                                                  Business Entity ID Number

TIGER POWER/MULTI-POWER INC.                    3332301


Current Mailing Address: ANTHONY BOCANEGRA - PO BOX 396, LEOTI, KS 67861 




Date of Formation in Kansas: 06/11/2002


State of Organization: KS




Resident Agent and Registered Office




Registered Office: 306 SOUTH 5TH, LEOTI, KS 67861



For the full page click here.


In the manual, MultiPower Inc’s address is listed as Multi-Power Ltd. P O Box 396, Leoti, KS 67861. Since the addresses are the same, this is the right company and Anthony Bocanegra is The Guy.


Although Tiger Power/Multi Power no longer has a Kansas business license, there is a Tiger Power/Multi Power (presumably a sole proprietorship) listed as being at:


101 N Waters,

Leoti, KS 67861

(620) 375-5050


See: http://www.bbb.org/wichita/business-reviews/pressure-washers/tiger-power-multi-power-in-leoti-ks-6947



What we have learned so far is that Anthony Bocanegra is practicing How Not To Be Found. Later, we will learn that CPSC is not interested in finding him.



2.   When I discovered the problem I contacted Home Depot and worked my way up to their headquarters in Atlanta, who was not interested in the matter. So, I filed a report with CPSC.


I did this online and by email.


Here is the online report: http://www.saferproducts.gov/ViewIncident/1352595


Since they have redacted the name of the last person I contacted at Home Depot Atlanta Headquarters, his name is Darnell. (Note that they redacted Darnell’s name but not my age.)


Here is the full report: click here.



3.  In October I received a call from Richard Leora of the Las Vegas office. (I didn’t know CPSC had a Las Vegas Office.) We had a nice talk and he sent me his email address (click here) and then his address (click here) so I could send him a section of the gasoline hose used for propane.


In view of later events it is good that I sent only a section of the hose and that I still have the rest of it.


I sent it by Priority Mail. When I used their Tracking system USPS said they had lost it, they didn’t know where it was lost, and they couldn’t find it. This may have been because the address that Leora gave me was a mail drop. Apparently, CPSC is also practicing How Not To Be Found.


The mail drop is:


Asap Mail & Copy Center

420 N Nellis Blvd, Ste A3

Las Vegas, NV 89110


Nonetheless, Leora did get the package with the section of hose (click here).


Still, it seems odd that a Federal agency would use a mail drop.



4.  In April 2014 I contacted Leora to find out why nothing was happening (click here).


I was contacted by another investigator who said that Leora had retired and he was taking over the case. (I wish I could find his name.) He also left me a voice message saying that the section of hose I had sent would be sent to the Lab and analyze, and that he would get back to me with the results. (I wish I had saved the voice message.)


I never heard from this person again.



5.  On April 2, 2015 I sent an inquiry to CPSC and received an acknowledgement, saying they would forward it to the Clearinghouse (click here).



6.  On April 8, 2015 I received a non-responsive response from the Clearinghouse (click here).



7.  Later that day I responded to their non-response (click here). I never heard back from them. You could call that a “non-responsive non-response.”


Time’s up.



8.  I have recently found out that Home Depot had a Legal Obligation to report the defective and dangerous generator.


See http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Business--Manufacturing/Recall-Guidance/Duty-to-Report-to-the-CPSC-Your-Rights-and-Responsibilities/


It starts out:



Duty to Report to CPSC: Rights and Responsibilities of Businesses

If you are a manufacturer, importer, distributor, and/or retailer of consumer products, you have a legal obligation to immediately report the following types of information to the CPSC:

  • A defective product that could create a substantial risk of injury to consumers;
  • A product that creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death;
  • A product that fails to comply with an applicable consumer product safety rule or with any other rule, regulation, standard, or ban under the CPSA or any other statute enforced by the CPSC;





They refer to the Recall Handbook (click here) which refers to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). CFR is what really matters because CFR has the force of law.


Here is the beginning of Code of Federal Regulations 16 CFR § 1115.4 Defect.



Code of Federal Regulations

16 CFR

§ 1115.4 Defect.

Section 15(b)(2) of the CPSA requires every manufacturer (including an importer), distributor, and retailer of a consumer product who obtains information which reasonably supports the conclusion that the product contains a defect which could create a substantial product hazard to inform the Commission of such defect. Thus, whether the information available reasonably suggests a defect is the first determination which a subject firm must make in deciding whether it has obtained information which must be reported to the Commission. In determining whether it has obtained information which reasonably supports the conclusion that its consumer product contains a defect, a subject firm may be guided by the criteria the Commission and staff use in determining whether a defect exists. At a minimum, defect includes the dictionary or commonly accepted meaning of the word. Thus, a defect is a fault, flaw, or irregularity that causes weakness, failure, or inadequacy in form or function. A defect, for example, may be the result of a manufacturing or production error; that is, the consumer product as manufactured is not in the form intended by, or fails to perform in accordance with, its design. In addition, the design of and the materials used in a consumer product may also result in a defect. Thus, a product may contain a defect even if the product is manufactured exactly in accordance with its design and specifications, if the design presents a risk of injury to the public. A design defect may also be present if the risk of injury occurs as a result of the operation or use of the product or the failure of the product to operate as intended. A defect can also occur in a product’s contents, construction, finish, packaging, warnings, and/or instructions. With respect to instructions, a consumer product may contain a defect if the instructions for assembly or use could allow the product, otherwise safely designed and manufactured, to present a risk of injury. To assist subject firms in understanding the concept of defect as used in the CPSA, the following examples are offered:





(I got it from http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/granule/CFR-2012-title16-vol2/CFR-2012-title16-vol2-sec1115-4 .)



As far as I can determine Home Depot failed in its duty to notify CPSC of the defective and dangerous generator.


Legally Home Depot could be subject to civil and criminal penalties but, considering CPSC’s lack of interest in the matter, I doubt this will happen.


That raises the question: How many other defective and dangerous products is Home Depot selling that they know are defective and dangerous?



9.  What to do if you have a MP5500DF Dual Fuel Generator?


a.  If the hose between the propane pressure regulator and the carburetor is cracked, don’t use the generator on propane.


b.  If the hose isn’t cracked, but is clearly a gasoline hose, you probably still shouldn’t use it on propane.


c.  If the hose is clearly a gasoline hose but isn’t cracked and you insist on using it on propane, check the hose every time you use it.


d.  If the hose is cracked, notify Home Depot and file a complaint with the CPSC (https://www.saferproducts.gov/CPSRMSPublic/Incidents/ReportIncident.aspx)



10.  What should Home Depot do? After all, if you bought it from their Web site they know who you are and how to contact you.


a.  What if Home Depot sends everyone a 16” propane-rated hose?


Answer: That might not be good enough.


The hose is secured to the propane regulator and the carburetor with automotive hose clamps. I don’t think they are approved propane fittings. If you have other propane appliances and hoses look at the fittings. Do you see any automotive hose clamps?


The fittings on the propane pressure regulator and the carburetor are straight tubes.


This is the fitting at the propane pressure regulator. It is the one that is sticking up. Notice that the fitting on the hose coming in from the right is an actual propane fitting that screws in.





This is the fitting at the carburetor. It is the vertical brass tube.





By comparison look at the barbed fitting on a Bunsen Burner.





Presumably, that meets the requirements for safely connecting low pressure propane (and natural gas).


A straight tube would require some kind of clamp around it.



If there is no approved method of connecting a propane hose to a straight tube, then sending everyone a new propane hose would be unacceptable.


Home Depot would have to send everyone a new propane regulator and a new carburetor with approved fittings.


And, since not everyone has experience replacing pressure regulator and carburetors, Home Depot would also have to pay to have a rated technician install them.



b.  What if Home Depot simply tells everyone not to use their MP5500DF Dual Fuel Generator on propane?


The would solve the problem, wouldn’t it?




This generator cost a great deal more than a gasoline-only generator would have cost.


I am not going to eat the difference.


Home Depot could pay everyone an “adjustment” but then we would have to fight about the amount. Besides I already have a gasoline-only generator. I don’t need another one.


c.  It looks like the only fair solution is for Home Depot to buy them back at the price that people paid (including tax and shipping).


However, I will note that the MP5500DF Dual Fuel Generator weighs 191 lbs (generator manual, PDF page 30).


I don’t think I can lift 191 lbs onto my pickup truck. I am too old and decrepit for that. After all, thanks to CPSC everyone knows that two years ago I was 63.


Therefore, Home Depot will have to come out and pick it up. (No, I am not going to build a crate for this thing and have a freight company come out and haul it away.)



What could Home Depot do with these defective and dangerous generators after they buy them back?


Since Home Depot does not consider these generators to be dangerous (if they did, they would have filed a report with CPSC), they can give them to their executives as a year-end bonus. (Home Depot CEO Craig Menear is also Chairmen and President so he should get three.)