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CPSC Issues Regulations For Reporting Product Defects

Release Date: October 06, 2011

CPSC has issued final regulations requiring that manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers notify the Commission within 24 hours of obtaining information which reasonably supports the conclusion that a product defect could create a substantial risk of injury to consumers.

The 24-hour notification deadline appeared in detailed requirements printed February 19 in the Federal Register. The new regulations go into effect March 21, 1974.

According to a Commission spokesman, the mandatory reporting requirements are unprecedented in the history of consumer protection and place stiff obligations upon industry to uncover substantial consumer product defects and to take necessary action to safeguard the public.

The regulations were proposed August 3, 1973, and have been informally followed since then, resulting in 82 defect notices and involving more than 12 million individual products.

The Commission received over 60 comments from manufacturers, associations of manufacturers, distributors and retailers, public interest groups, and the public about the proposed regulations and adopted a number of changes and technical revisions in the final version.

The Consumer Product Safety Act states that manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers must immediately inform the Commission if any product fails to meet an applicable consumer product safety rule or contains a defect that could create a substantial product hazard. This applies to all products which fall under the Commission's jurisdiction. Failure to report a defect or furnish required information could result in civil penalties of up to $500,000.

The final regulations state that initial notification must be made within 24 hours to the Director of Compliance, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, D.C. 20207.

The chief executive officer of the notifying company has the responsibility for signing and certifying any information provided to the Commission. This responsibility may be delegated to another person, but the Commission must be advised in writing.

The initial notification must: identify the product; give the name and address of the manufacturer, if known: give the names and addresses of every distributor and retailer, if known; specify the nature and extent of the defect or failure to comply with an applicable safety rule: and provide the name and address of the person informing the Commission.

If the initial notification is not made in writing, written confirmation must be forwarded to the Commission within 48 hours.

Additional information that should be reported within 48 hours, if available, includes: the manner in which information concerning the hazard was obtained; copies of any consumer complaints about the hazard; the number, nature, and severity of any injuries associated with the product hazard; the number of units involved; how remaining inventory will be disposed; any identifying marks or numbers on the potentially hazardous units.

Also, manufacturers, importers, distributors, or retailers are requested to inform the Commission what action will be taken to correct the defect, whether purchasers have been notified through public notice, direct mail or other means, and whether defective products in the hands of consumers will be refunded, replaced or repaired.

For further information or for a copy of the regulations, write to the Bureau of Compliance, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, D.C. 20207.
 

Release Number
74-010

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.

Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly-announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.

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