Release date: February 1, 1975
Release number: 75-014

Release Details

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's toll free ""HOTLINE"" recently completed its first full year of operation having logged nearly 60,000 calls from consumers during that period.

Calls to the "HOTLINE" have ranged from requests for information about product safety to reports of product-related accidents and complaints about the safety of a consumer product. Large metropolitan areas including New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Atlanta have generated the largest volume of calls to the "HOTLINE" which operates nationwide on a 24-hour basis.

Actions by the Commission to ban or recall a hazardous product have at times been triggered by calls received over the "HOTLINE." One such incident involved a consumer who called the "HOTLINE" to report the death of a Florida man who had been allegedly electrocuted by a trouble light he was using.

A subsequent investigation by the Commission revealed that the trouble light had exposed electrical conductors which posed the threat of electrocution to persons using the product. As a result, the Commission took steps to have the manufacturer, distributors and retailers recall the hazardous trouble light and ban it from further sale.

Peak calling times for the "HOTLINE" usually occur during heavy volume buying periods, such as holidays or whenever the Commission issues a warning about a hazardous product. During the 1974 Christmas season, for example, the "HOTLINE" received over 5,000 calls in two days from consumers concerning a particular brand of Christmas tree lights which were being recalled.

On occasion, the "HOTLINE" becomes the target of non-product safety related calls. Like the time a consumer called the "HOTLINE" complaining that the hairspray his wife had been using was making her schizophrenic. Later the wife called the "HOTLINE" to apologize for the actions of her husband who she said had been undergoing psychiatric care.

The "HOTLINE" has been described as an "instant two-way communication system" between the Commission and the consumer. But this is true only if consumers make use of it. To report a product-related injury, product hazard or to request information on product safety, consumers may call the toll free "HOTLINE" number from anywhere in the Continental U.S. 800/638-2772.

Media Contact

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Phone: (301) 504-7908
Spanish: (301) 504-7800

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