CPSC Hearing: Could a Tiered Recall System be on the Way?
Companies are abusing the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recall process in order to quickly address minor safety issues, according to panelists at a public hearing held recently by CPSC commissioners.
The meeting was scheduled by the agency in an effort to gather input from consumer and industry representatives as it identifies priorities for the 2014 fiscal year.
During the hearing, Commissioner Anne Northup suggested that CPSC consider making changes to its current recall system to further streamline the process. In fact, she proposed a tiered recall system in which one level would consist of particularly dangerous defects, such as choking or laceration hazards, while the other would include products with problems that would warrant a label change or other small modification.
While the idea of a tiered recall system may seem like a possible solution, is it actually feasible? Would it help raise consumers’ level of awareness during recall events and increase the return rate of affected products?
Commissioner Robert Adler does not believe so. While Adler did agree with Northup during the hearing that the level of recalls being announced each year in the United States is too high, he believed the problem would be a difficult one to solve in a timely fashion.
But Ioana Rusu, regulatory counsel for the Consumers Union, had another idea for restructuring CPSC’s current recall system. During the hearing, she suggested that the agency develop a “multi-faceted approach” to better reach consumers with pertinent recall information. For example, retailers and manufacturers could be encouraged to send information via a text message or through other up-and-coming forms of communication such as blogs or social media.
It is highly unlikely that CPSC’s recall system will see any drastic changes anytime soon. But those within the industry should pay close attention to the agency as it begins to prioritize items to focus on in the upcoming years. By keeping ahead of the curve, manufacturers, distributors and retailers alike can ensure compliance and stay aware of any drastic regulatory changes that could affect recall policies and procedures.
What do you believe CPSC should focus on in Fiscal Year 2014? Do you believe a tiered recall system would benefit consumers? What channels of communication would you use during a recall event? Please share your thoughts with us below.
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