CPSC Tells Companies, "Don't Recall Products On Your Own"

A CPSC spokeswoman said this week that Wal-Mart’s independent recall of lead-tainted toy animals on October 19th was all well and good, but that they should have included more information that consumers need in order to act quickly—including how many products were sold, when they were sold and at what other retailers, and the name of the manufacturer. Said the spokeswoman, “We are not big fans of when companies handle recall announcements independently of the agency. It can cause confusion and doesn’t always provide consumers with the information they need.”

Wal-Mart announced the recall after its own testing discovered high levels of lead, and it notified the CPSC of the results. A Wal-Mart spokeswoman replied, “We informed the supplier and the CPSC and we felt we had to let our customers know what we’d found.” But Wal-Mart still won’t provide more information on the recalled toys, leading to a strange battle of wills between the CPSC and the retailer. What gives, Wal-Mart? Afraid of losing your lead-toys competitive edge? The CPSC is legally bound to not disclose details now that the toys are being officially tested, but we’re not sure what Wal-Mart’s legal obligation is since it announced the recall on its own.

“US product watchdog agency: Wal-Mart toy recall lacked some consumer information” [International Herald Tribune]
(Photo: Getty)


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  1. rhombopteryx says:

    Kafka’s got nothing on the CPSC!

    CPSC sez: “your recalls sux, they would be better if we did them with you!”

    Teh law sez:” “CPSC doesn’t even have enough members to do a recall even if they wanted to.”

    The best the CPSC could do is a half-assked “advisory” public warning, but still they get pissy about not doing a cooperative recall?

    Must be gunning for the TSA’s “arbitrary, conflicting, illogical and incompetent” level…

  2. SOhp101 says:

    The CPSC makes some sense in their rationale (consistency is important in safety recalls) but I can’t see why companies can’t start the recalls on their own while simultaneously notifying the CPSC.

    Usually corporations do not recall products if the cost of potential lawsuits does not exceed the cost of advertisement, collection, and refund of the defective product. So if a company does want to recall something, you can bet that they want the products out of consumers’ hands ASAP.

  3. But Wal-Mart still won’t provide more information on the recalled toys…

    Why not? You’ve already recalled them, what’s the point Wal-mart? I don’t expect them to say which other retailers were selling them (unless they’re owned by the same parent company) but there’s no reason not to say when they were sold as long as you’re going to go ahead and recall them.