Consumers who purchase a product not only have every expectation that the item will work as promised, they assume it is safe. Not all products sold to Georgia buyers come without defects, though. Consumers might be hurt when a battery-powered toy overheats and causes burns, or another item presents choking hazards. The federal government’s regulatory and oversight authorities appear to have had enough, as evidenced by increased enforcement.
The CPSC steps up
2021 saw a marked increase in enforcement actions by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) against the retail sector, emphasizing raising regulatory and litigation risks. One specific action the CPSC took involved a return to assessing civil penalties after not doing so for two years. Most striking was a first-time criminal prosecution against a company that did not report a product defect.
Retailers likely took note of the monetary penalties levied against companies that ran afoul of the CPSC and regulatory requirements. Penalties in the high seven-figure and low eight-figure range represent millions of dollars in retailer losses.
Attempts to boost consumer safety
The government’s aggressive approach could reduce the chances of people suffering from unexpected and severe harm. Not all incidents involve minor mishaps, as product defects may cause fatalities. Tragically, lives lost include those of children and infants.
Government oversight and enforcement only do so much. Not every company complies with rules under any circumstances. Even those who try to follow the rules could be negligent in another way.
Anyone hurt by a defective product could seek compensation by filing a lawsuit. The lawsuit may intend to recover medical bills and other costs associated with the injury.