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FAQs For businesses contacted by a CPSC investigator

What is an inspection?

The Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) and related laws permit CPSC Investigators to enter, at reasonable times, any establishment involved in the manufacture, importation, distribution or sale of consumer products. The purpose of the inspection is to obtain information; to review and obtain copies of items including, but not limited to, records (including electronic records), reports, books, documents and labeling; and to obtain samples, in order to enforce or determine compliance with Acts administered by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Please note that you are under statutory obligation to provide truthful answers and documents during an inspection.

What do I do when a CPSC investigator comes to my business?

The Investigator may ask for a range of documents and information relating to the business and the consumer products imported, manufactured, sold, or distributed by your business. Providing quick access to this information will allow the Investigator to complete his/her work in a timely manner. Some common requests include information about:

  • Product design and testing reports
  • Complaints about product safety
  • Business structure and officers
  • Sales data (including customer lists)
  • Import history
  • Physical product samples

Why was my business chosen for an inspection?

Field investigators conduct on-site inspections at manufacturers, retailers, importers and distributors of consumer products. There are a number of reasons for an investigator to visit your business that include, but are not limited to:

  • Ongoing voluntary and regulated product standards compliance monitoring
  • Follow-up to an investigation of a consumer’s incident
  • Follow-up to a trade complaint
  • Follow-up to marketplace surveillance


Can I refuse to allow the inspection to take place?

No, you are under statutory obligation to allow the investigator to conduct the inspection at reasonable times; the investigator may enter your premises to collect records and samples pertaining to the manufacture, import, distribution and/or sale of consumer products and conduct a full inspection.


Why didn’t the investigator make an appointment?

The CPSC is not obligated to provide advanced notice before an inspection.  There are a few circumstances in which the investigator may make an appointment but these are the exceptions.


What if the investigator arrives but there is nobody available or authorized to allow the inspection?

Under certain circumstances, the investigator will work with your firm to set up a time that the investigator will return to complete the inspection.  The investigator, however, may determine that there is some limited information that you need to provide immediately.


How do I verify the identity of an Investigator at the time of the inspection?

The Investigator will issue you a Notice of Inspection and will show you their badge and credentials. CPSC can also verify the identity of any Investigator. You can ask the Investigator to put you in contact with their supervisor if you have questions. You can also call our toll-free hotline at: 1-800-638-2772. Hotline staff will ask for your contact information and the name of the Investigator, however, you will not be able to obtain instant verification.


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