Nancy Nord, the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s acting chairman, thinks the agencies policies need to be updated, the law is 35 years old and needs to be changed. Earlier this week, her staff had a meeting with a group representing manufacturers and a meeting with several consumer groups to discuss her ideas and proposals.
Nord wants to make it illegal to sell a product that has been recalled after the date of public notice. As of now this practice is still legal. The CPSC also wants to make manufacturers and importers certify that their products meet mandatory and voluntary standards that the commission relies on as effective safety standards. Since there is already a requirement for certification now, this new provision will make the certification more public.
The CPSC wants to make companies that violate relied upon voluntary standards pay a fine. Also, they want to be able to seize goods from companies that don’t follow voluntary standards. As of now, products found that do not meet these standards cannot be removed.
Currently, companies have 30 days to respond to commission inquiries before the agency can begin working on a unilateral public recall or safety announcement. To speed up the process, the commission wants to trim that to 10 days.
The commission is also reviewing the cap on civil penalties for companies who do not report safety defects to the CPSC in a timely manner. Today, the cap is $1.825 million, which Congress thinks is much too low; the House proposed a penalty of $20 million. The commission stated they think that fine is unreasonable, and any increase should be slowly phased in.