BBB Warning: Zen Magnets

March 16, 2017

DENVER, CO — BBB serving Denver/Boulder is issuing a warning on Zen Magnets, LLC, a Boulder-based company, due to a government action involving a US District Court Civil Penalty.

On December 1, 2016, a federal judge issued a $5.5 million civil penalty against Zen Magnets, LLC. The business illegally sold powerful small magnets that another company had recalled, which put consumers at risk.

A U.S. District Court Judge in Colorado ruled that Zen Magnets and its owner, Shihan Qu, violated the Consumer Product Safety Act. They bought these recalled magnets for a discounted price and then sold hundreds of thousands of the recalled magnets. 

The magnets at issue are typically sold in sets of hundreds and are commonly marketed and sold as “sculptural” desk toys.  These magnets were of particular concern for children, potentially causing harm or death when ingested.

Further information can be found here: 

In recognition that Zen Magnets is a small company and has a limited ability to pay, all but $10,000 of the civil penalty was suspended.

Zen Magnets has the following warning posted on their website at “Zen Magnets may cause fatal intestinal pinching if swallowed. Don't leave them around animals, or children who don't understand this. US Government Age recommendation is 14 years.”

Zen Magnets has a C+ rating with the BBB, due to the government action, and urges consumers to exercise caution when dealing with Zen Magnets, LLC and to file any complaints at

BBB also offers the following tips for consumers shopping for these types of products online:

  • Check retailers’ privacy and return policies, in case you’re dissatisfied with the product after purchase.
  • Sift through online reviews for red flags and to understand what other consumers in the marketplace have to say about the business and the product.
  • Look for seals of approval like the BBB Accreditation seal, which indicates the business has agreed to uphold ethical business standards.