WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Williams-Sonoma, Inc., of San Francisco, Calif., has agreed to pay a $700,000 civil penalty.
The agreement resolves CPSC staff’s charges that the firm knowingly failed to report to CPSC immediately, as required by federal law, a defect involving Pottery Barn Kids Roman shades with exposed inner cords. Williams-Sonoma sold the Roman shades nationwide, through its Pottery Barn Kids brand, between January 2003 and November 2007, for $30 to $60. CPSC staff charged that the Pottery Barn Kids Roman shades posed a strangulation hazard to young children.
By the time that Williams-Sonoma filed its full report with CPSC, seven consumers had reported that children had become entangled on the inner cords of the Pottery Barn Kids Roman shades. Williams-Sonoma ultimately recalled approximately 85,000 of the Roman shades in cooperation with CPSC.
Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to report to CPSC immediately (within 24 hours) after obtaining information reasonably supporting the conclusion that a product contains a defect which could create a substantial product hazard, creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or fails to comply with any consumer product safety requirement enforced by CPSC.
Williams-Sonoma has agreed to continue to maintain the compliance program and system of internal controls referenced in an earlier civil penalty settlement with CPSC, designed to ensure compliance with the safety statutes and regulations enforced by the Commission.
In agreeing to the settlement, Williams-Sonoma neither admits nor denies CPSC staff’s charges.
The penalty agreement (pdf) has been accepted provisionally by the Commission in a 4-1 vote.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazard. CPSC's work to help ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household chemicals -– 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.
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury go online to www.SaferProducts.gov or call CPSC's Hotline at 800-638-2772 or teletypewriter at 301-595-7054 for the hearing impaired. Consumers can obtain news release and recall information at www.cpsc.gov, on Twitter @USCPSC or by subscribing to CPSC's free e-mail newsletters.
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