After reading all the negative reviews, I called Bodum's customer service line before ordering to ask about the absence of an "off" button. The rep assured me that all you have to do is remove the kettle from the base and the heater clicks off. That made sense to me so I ordered.
As soon as I unpacked it, I plugged it in, pressed the "on" button, and the light went on. I immediately removed the kettle from the base and the light went off, so I assumed it was no longer heating. Just in case, I unplugged it,then plugged it back i, thinking it was still off since the light was off.
Half an hour later I came back and happened to touch the outside of the kettle and it was hot. The pot was STILL on in spite of the fact that I had lifted it from its base, unplugged it, and replugged it in with no "on" light on. There was no water in the kettle either; so much for the safety feature that it shuts off automatically as soon as it's empty.
In spite of what the customer service rep told me, the 72-page manual (72 pages to boil water? Granted it's in 11 languages, but slight overkill) clearly states, "If the boiling process is ended by removing the main plug from the electrical outlet, the kettle will immediately switch itself back on when the main plug is reinserted." What kind of a design or safety function is that?
The one and only plus of this product is the beautiful style with its nice lines and bright colors. Sadly it's the only reasonably priced modern kettle I could find. That's not enough to make up for the extreme safety hazard, of course. Needless to say, I'm returning this item immediately. It should be recalled.