Government Agencies that Oversee the Safety of Consumer Goods
Posted by Aubrey at May 19th, 2015
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was created in 1914 for the main purpose of preventing any type of business practices that are deceptive, anti-competitive or unfair to America’s consumers and to improve consumers’ understanding of the competitive process and choice of products through correct information; FTC, of course, will have to accomplish these tasks without causing undue burden to legitimate business activities.
The FTC accomplishes such challenging tasks through its Bureau of Consumer Protection, which “stops unfair, deceptive and fraudulent business practices by collecting complaints and conducting investigations, suing companies and people that break the law, developing rules to maintain a fair marketplace, and educating consumers and businesses about their rights and responsibilities.”
In 1972, another independent agency was created, this time for the purpose of regulating the manufacture and sale of consumer products, such as cribs, toys, appliances, fireworks and lawn mowers: the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). CPSC’s jurisdiction, however, includes only those products that are not identified (by law) as falling under other government agency’s scope, like: drugs, cosmetics, medical devices and food, all of which fall under the Food and Drug Administration’s jurisdiction; automobiles, which is under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; aircraft, which is managed by the Federal Aviation Administration; alcohol, tobacco & tobacco products, which are under the jurisdiction of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau; firearms and ammunition, which is under the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; and so forth.
With regard to products that are under its control, CPSC: bans whatever causes, or have the potential to cause, danger; establishes safety requirements; issues recalls on those already on the market; and, researches about their possible hazards. And, with the millions of foreign and national products entering the US market, plus the thousands more of new consumer goods being introduced every year, CPSC is certainly one very busy independent government agency.
In October of 2014 CPSC announced the forthcoming recall of 55,000 USB charging cables by Tectron International due to reports that the product has the tendency to overheat and melt; on January 15, 2015, the Commission confirmed Ikea’s recall of 169,000 crib mattresses after two children were reported to have been trapped in the company’s crib models; and, months before December 2014, in preparation for the holidays, screened, to check for hazards, thousands of imported toys and products. There are times, however, when CPSC is not able to seize all defective or counterfeit goods that enter the US due to lack in budget and staff, thus, it advises consumers to buy what they want and need, as much as possible, only from established retailers.
Products under the CPSC’s jurisdiction are not the only ones that have been recalled, by the way. Millions of cars and car parts, prescription drugs, and many other products have also been recalled (in the past) either voluntarily by their respective manufacturers or by the agency which oversee these.
Often, defective products would already have caused harm before complaints are made about these, obviously since consumers are never aware of their defects as anyone would naturally believe that all products made available on the market are safe. Thus, for many consumers, filing a product liability lawsuit becomes the only means in seeking justice and compensation for all the damages they have been made to suffer.
Filing a liability lawsuit can be complicated, though, due to the various documents that need to be prepared and the limited time, or statutory limit, that need to be observed. In Louisville, seeking legal assistance from a personal injury lawyer could be a big help to someone who may have been harmed by any type of product, including household items, vehicle, food, medicine, etc.
Category: Personal Injury