New Site Provides Consumer Product Safety Information
The U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) finally released the SaferProducts.gov database mandated by Congress, as part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.
Consumers can submit and read reports of harm or risks of harm, and to search for information on products they own or may be considering buying.
The CPSC plans to use reports from consumers to help identify product hazards more quickly.
“CPSC stayed on time and on budget in building this new database,” said Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “Through SaferProducts.gov, consumers will have open access to product safety information that they have never seen before and the information will empower them to make safer choices.”
Business Aggressively Fought the Release of the Site
Republicans in Congress and business interests aggressively campaigned against the release of the site, including members of the House attempting to defund the website.
“We’re not against the database. We just want it to actually be useful to consumers and to not falsely malign companies’ brands or products,” Rosario Palmieri, National Association of Manufacturers vice president of regulatory policy, told ABC News.
The concerns were echoed by Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan, who led the effort to shut down the site.
He stated his “primary concern is that we have a government-sponsored site that will be posting information that is not accurate…”
Businesses seem most worried at the prospect that the site will allow unsupervised comments, potentially from disgruntled consumers or competitors, attacking their products.
How Information is Reported
The CPSC will review all reports submitted online and will send the report within five business days to the manufacturer. The manufacturers have 10 business days to respond and comment on the report. At the end of the 10-day period, the report and the manufacturer’s comments will be posted on SaferProducts.gov.
“I believe that an informed consumer is an empowered consumer,” added Chairman Tenenbaum. “The ability for parents and consumers to search this database for incidents involving a product they already own or are thinking of purchasing will enable them to make independent decisions aimed at keeping their family safe.”
While the manufacturers claim their opposition is based on their fears that the reports could be false or fabricated, the CSPC’s study prior to release suggest there is little evidence to support that claim.
Less Than One Quarter of One Percent
“Manufacturers are concerned, but we want to allay their fears in that the 1,500 reports that we received of harm during our trial launch we only had four where the manufacturers told us they were inaccurate” CPSC chairwoman Inez Tenenbaum told ABC News. This works out to a rate of .0026 and this is for all reports of all products; for an individual business, the rate would be even lower.