The CPSC has a broad statutory mandate with jurisdiction over roughly 15,000 different types of consumer products – from toys, children’s products, sporting goods, tools, furniture, electronics, appliances to apparel and footwear and more. The CPSC’s critical function is to ensure the products that 330 million Americans purchase and use daily– are safe.
Retailers are partners in this critical mission, with robust testing and compliance programs to ensure the goods sold on our shelves and websites meet rigorous safety standards. Unfortunately, for years the CPSC has been significantly underfunded and runs with an extremely lean staff compared to other federal health and safety regulatory agencies.
The joint stakeholder letter recognizes that while the signatory organizations may have differences in opinion regarding specific public policy issues, all nonetheless strongly and uniformly agree on the need for an effective and functioning CPSC. By ensuring the agency has the proper resources and staff to carry out the Commission’s critical mission, all industries and consumers will be safer.
The free market has transformed the way Americans shop, and consumers are benefiting from new retail trends in both physical retail and e-commerce. Part of this transformation is the exponential growth of online marketplaces run by companies like Amazon and Facebook. While these dominant platforms have the power to connect legitimate small businesses with new customers, they lack oversight and are being exploited by unscrupulous sellers and criminals selling billions in stolen and counterfeit goods. And in today’s ecosystem, criminals are using the anonymity afforded by the Internet to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers.
To address this alarming trend, in addition to supporting the consumer protection efforts of the CPSC, leading retailers are also urging Congress to back the INFORM Consumers Act, legislation that would modernize consumer protections laws by requiring online marketplaces to collect and verify basic business information on sellers, and for sellers to provide business contact information to consumers.
Basic transparency and verification requirements will not hurt legitimate businesses, but will make it harder for bad actors to deceive consumers. It will also provide law enforcement with an important tool to track the worst offenders.
Together with the CPSC, retailers are committed to common-sense measures that promote safety, transparency, and accountability. For more information about RILA’s advocacy and engagement on consumer safety issues, please contact Executive Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Kathleen McGuigan or Senior Director Regulatory Affairs and Compliance Susan Kirsch.
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