Senate Commerce Committee Report Details Failures by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to Protect Consumers

December 19, 2019

WASHINGTON D.C.— Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, released a report detailing the failures of recent Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) leadership to adequately protect American consumers from unsafe and defective products.  The report makes clear that these failures were not due to lack of legal authority but are instead the result of a pattern of inappropriate deference to industry that has characterized CPSC leadership in recent years.

“Consumers and their families should have confidence in the products they buy,” Senator Cantwell said. “Industry and the Consumer Product Safety Commission need to take action to ensure that consumers aren’t buying dangerous or defective products and that those who do receive a real remedy.”

An extensive examination of documents involved in three recent investigations by the CPSC under the leadership of then-Acting Chair Ann Marie Buerkle shows that the “recalls” agreed to by the Commission function less as true remedies for consumers, and more as incentive programs to bring more business to the companies involved in the recalls.  Instead of receiving new, safe products or refunds, consumers are often left with either discount coupons for new products from the offending manufacturer or mere warnings.

The report closely examines Commission actions involving the BOB jogging stroller, the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n’ Play inclined infant sleeper, and residential elevator safety that illustrate a failure by past CPSC leadership to adequately protect consumers from the dangers of these product hazards. The report also includes recommendations to ensure that these Commission failures are corrected and not repeated by new leadership at the CPSC.

A full copy of the report is available HERE and associated exhibits can be found HERE and HERE.