Consumer Product Safety

Asserting the authority to oversee the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Chair of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, have requested information from the Commission concerning the CPSC’s workload and its dealings with the public with regard to consumer

While many today returned to work after the Holiday season, things remained quieter than usual here in the nation’s capital – with many federal workers furloughed until further notice as the federal government continues to be in a partial shutdown.  President Trump is reportedly meeting with congressional leaders today ahead of Thursday’s start to a

The Senate today confirmed Kathleen Kraninger as CFPB Director by a party-line, 50-49 vote, with Sen. Tillis abstaining.  Kraninger will replace current Acting Director Mick Mulvaney, who also currently oversees Kraninger at the Office of Management Budget (OMB) where she is associate director of general government and Mulvaney is Director. Kraninger is expected to continue

On Tuesday, in an 80 to 19 vote, the Senate confirmed Peter Feldman as CPSC Commissioner – to finish Commissioner Mohorovic’s term ending October 26, 2019. Today, in a narrow 51 to 49 vote, the Senate confirmed him to a full, seven-year term. As we discussed here, Mr. Feldman previously served as Senior Counsel

On June 21, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing on Peter Feldman’s nomination for Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Mr. Feldman was initially nominated on June 4th only to finish Commissioner Mohorovic’s term, which ends in October 2019, but was re-nominated on June 7th for a separate term to end in 2026. At the hearing, Mr. Feldman stated his intent to focus on “modernizing the agency and increasing its transparency.” He specifically addressed the need to modernize CPSC’s data capabilities, especially in regards to identifying emerging hazards, determining the CPSC’s role in evolving e-commerce distribution models, and improving outreach and transparency to stakeholders.

If he is confirmed, the Republicans will return to the majority after almost 12 years. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data Security, has stated that he hopes the Committee will move “expeditiously” with Feldman’s confirmation and that his “expertise in regards to the issues before the Commission and extensive qualifications will be an asset as the Commission gets back on track in advancing product safety policies that reflect the principles of sound regulation.” Similarly, Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH), Chairman of the Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee, has urged the Commerce Committee to move forward with not only Feldman’s confirmation, but also Acting Chair Ann Marie Buerkle’s confirmation. Buerkle’s (R) nomination to become Chairman has been pending for 10 months with no indication of when a vote will be scheduled.
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If you follow our blog, you know that we often write about issues involving the FTC and the CPSC, but we usually do not write about both in the same post. Now those worlds have collided. The staff of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection (“BCP”), a prominent voice in the Internet of Things dialogue,

Months after she was initially nominated, today the U.S. Senate confirmed Dana Baiocco (R) as the next CPSC Commissioner in a 50-45 vote, replacing Marietta Robinson (D), whose term expired in October 2017. Ms. Baiocco’s confirmation brings the Commission to two Republicans and two Democrats. Ms. Baiocco was originally approved by the Senate Committee on

Manufacture, import, or sell a connected device?  In addition to the potential hazards associated with the physical performance of the product, you also need to consider the potential hazards associated with the product’s connectivity.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) is considering the Internet of Things and will hold a public hearing on May 16 for interested stakeholders to discuss the potential safety issues with connected products and the CPSC’s role in addressing these issues, along with industry best practices and current standards development.  Privacy and personal data security issues in the IoT environment do not fall under the CPSC’s jurisdiction, but the agency has the authority to cover consumer hazards resulting from IoT products, which could include fire, burn, shock, tripping or falling, laceration, contusion, and chemical exposure.  

The CPSC has identified two product safety challenges associated with IoT products: (1) preventing or eliminating hazardous conditions designed into products intentionally or without sufficient consideration; and (2) preventing and addressing incidents of hazardization.  While the former falls into the CPSC’s wheelhouse of preventing and correcting consumer product issues, the latter is a non-traditional area of product safety activity and could pose some challenges with the high rate of growth of connected products.   The CPSC defines hazardization as “the situation created when a product that was safe when obtained by a consumer, but which, when connected to a network, becomes hazardous through malicious, incorrect, or careless changes to operational code.”  Examples include a connected cooktop with a software glitch that ignites without the consumer’s knowledge and starts a fire or an integrated home security system that fails to download a software update and the default condition is to deactivate the system, disabling the smoke alarms without the consumer’s knowledge.
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Last Friday, the CPSC voted to sue Britax Child Safety, Inc. to force the company to recall various models of single and double B.O.B. jogging strollers. The one-count administrative complaint alleges that the strollers present a substantial product hazard under Section 15(a)(2) of the Consumer Product Safety Act because they contain a product defect that

Last week, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that Michaels Stores Inc. has agreed to pay $1.5 million in civil penalties to settle allegations that Michaels failed to file a timely report about a safety hazard associated with a large glass vase that Michaels sold. In 2015, DOJ filed a complaint on behalf of the