You bought a defective product and it is really bothering you. This goes beyond a little dissatisfaction. You believe the item is dangerous. Where do you turn?
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) provides guidance to companies and individual consumers about dangerous products and recalls. Anyone can file a complaint with the bureau and there is a form online that enables you to do so. But some parties must report a defective product when they become aware of it, and that applies to toy manufacturers.
What Is a Defect?
A defect is a flaw in design or an irregularity that causes a product to function poorly or inadequately. Defects occur due to issues with manufacturing or production, design flaws, faulty materials, improper labels and warnings, and more.
According to the CPSC, when a company becomes aware of a defect, it must report it immediately, meaning within 24 hours of receiving reportable information. But the authority also says that a company investigating a defect, and not yet certain whether there is a reportable issue, may take additional time to investigate and determine if the issue requires reporting and a recall.
What is reportable depends on the type of product as well as the issues that have arisen. For example, manufacturers, retailers, distributors, and importers of children's toys including items of a certain diameter must report when a child choked on a small item and, as a result of the incident, ceased breathing for any length of time, had to be treated by a medical professional, was injured, or died.
Ideally, the agency is alerted to the dangers of the particular product before someone dies, which is why any incident at all involving children choking on marbles or small balls are reported.
The CPSC points out that not every product that presents a risk of injury is defective, The agency considers the following factors when determining whether risk of injury associated with the product makes it defective.
- What is the utility of the product? What is it supposed to do?
- What is the nature of the risk of injury that the product presents?
- Is the risk obvious to the consumer?
- What is the need for the product?
- What is the population exposed to the product and its risk of injury?
- Are there adequate warnings and instructions that mitigate the risk?
- What is the Commission's experience with the product?
- Is the risk of injury the result of consumer misuse, and is that misuse foreseeable?
- Finally, what other information sheds light on the product and patterns of consumer use?
For your part, if you suspect that a product is defective or dangerous, don't wait. Let the CPSC know your concerns. You may not be the only one to have them, and you could be helping to save a life down the line.