The Consumer Product Safety Commission plans to publicize complaints

Hal Stratton, Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), shows a pair of childrens shoes that have been recalled because of the metal eyelet that can come lose posing a choking hazard during a news conference.

JEREMY HOBSON: Today, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is going forward with a controversial plan to make public the thousands of complaints it receives every year about defective products.

Our Washington Bureau Chief John Dimsdale reports.

JOHN DIMSDALE: The product safety agency will post complaints about defective merchandise within 15 days of receiving them. Consumer groups say that will help warn customers about everything from dangerous baby cribs to toxic drywall. Right now, the public has only limited access to complaints and consumer advocates say it takes too long to figure out trends that expose defective products.

But Rosario Palmieri at the National Association of Manufacturers says there are no safeguards to make sure the complaints aren't made by competitors or even trial lawyers looking for business.

ROSARIO PALMIERI: We fear that some with political or financial motives might use this database as an opportunity to falsely malign particular products, companies or brands.

The CPSC says companies will be protected from false accusations or the disclosure of business secrets. And manufacturers' responses will be listed alongside each complaint.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.


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