Business - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Business - General FAQs

Who is included in the category of “Manufacturers”?

The CPSIA requires the CPSC to send reports of harm (Reports) to manufacturers, which includes importers, and private labelers identified in a Report. All three are included in the category of “Manufacturers” in these FAQs.

Will the Report form assist communication between the consumer and the Manufacturer?

Yes. The Report form will ask whether the consumer has contacted the Manufacturer and whether they intend to contact the Manufacturer. Consumers are required to provide their contact information to the CPSC if they want their Report published in the Database. Consumers may consent to have their contact information provided to the Manufacturer.

What happens after a Report is submitted to the CPSC?

When a Report is submitted, CPSC has up to five business days, when practicable, to review the Report and any pictures or documents that have been attached, and to check for the required minimum information before sending the Report to the Manufacturer named in the Report. Occasionally it may take longer than five business days to send a Report to a Manufacturer if that firm is out of business, or where the CPSC cannot find valid contact information.

Reports that contain the minimum required information are posted in the Database on SaferProducts.gov 10 business days after the CPSC transmits a copy of the Report to the Manufacturer. This means that Reports are posted in the Database approximately 15 business days after they are submitted to the CPSC.

A Manufacturer that receives a Report from the CPSC may submit a comment about the Report for publication at any time. Businesses can choose whether to have their comments appear online. If a business wants its comment to appear in the Database at the same time as the Report, it must submit it to the CPSC with sufficient time to review it before the Report is published in the Database. At the end of the 10-business-day period, the CPSC will post the Report and any comments received and reviewed from the Manufacturer to the Database.

Does the CPSC have plans to develop an API (Application Programming Interface) or web service to allow access to the Database by smartphones or mobile apps?

Yes. The CPSC plans to develop an API in the future, but does not have one available at this time.

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Business - Comments FAQs

Who can submit comments in response to a Report?

Only the Manufacturer named in the Report who receives the Report from the CPSC may submit comments in response to the Report. Also, only the Manufacturer of a product may submit a claim that a Report contains confidential information. (See also Business - Confidentiality).

How many comments can a Manufacturer submit?

Currently there is no limit on the number of comments that a Manufacturer can submit.

How much time will the Manufacturer have to submit a comment on a Report?

Reports are posted in the Database on the 10th business day after sending the Report to the Manufacturer. Manufacturers may submit comments on a Report at any time before or after a Report is published in the Database. However, if the Manufacturer would like a comment posted to the Database at the same time as the Report, it must submit such comment to the CPSC in sufficient time for the CPSC to review and accept it for publication before the 10-business-day publishing deadline expires.

Use of the Business Portal is the easiest way to ensure that comments are received by the CPSC in a timely manner. Comments not posted at the same time as the Report will be posted as soon thereafter as is practicable.

If a Manufacturer chooses to make a comment, will the CPSC ensure that the comment appears with the Report in the Database?

Yes. Comments from Manufacturers will appear along with the Report, unless the manufacturer requests that a comment not be made public.

When a Manufacturer is named in a Report, which person at the Manufacturer will receive notice of the Report from the CPSC?

The Primary Contact set up when a Manufacturer registers in the Business Portal on www.SaferProducts.gov will receive email notification when a Report is received. The Primary Contact can set up additional users to receive Reports as well.

If a Manufacturer is not registered, CPSC will send Reports to them through the U.S. Mail to the principal place of business, unless we select another equally effective method of transmission. If the CPSC already has contact information on file for a Manufacturer to receive information pursuant to section 6(c) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), CPSC will direct Reports to that address.

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Business - Registration FAQs

Why should a Manufacturer register with the CPSC via the Business Portal on www.SaferProducts.gov?

The Business Portal provides an easy to use online environment to view and comment on Reports, and to make a claim that a Report contains confidential or materially inaccurate information. Manufacturers can designate a Primary Contact and additional users to receive electronic notice of Reports directly from the CPSC. Designated users can be notified more quickly than through the U.S. Mail, and, therefore, will have more time to respond to a Report. Timely notice of a Report, and the ability to review and comment on a Report quickly, is important because the Report will be posted in the Database on the 10th business day after the CPSC transmits it to the identified Manufacturer, regardless of whether the Manufacturer responds.

When can I register with the Business Portal?

Manufacturers may register an account on the Business Portal at any time on www.SaferProducts.gov.

How many users at each Manufacturer will be able to receive notice of Reports and to submit comments to the CPSC?

Each Manufacturer will be allowed one Primary Contact who will have administrative rights on the account. The Primary Contact can request that an unlimited number of additional user accounts be created. The Primary Contact will also be able to specify what kind of privileges each user account should have on the Business Portal including read only, and the ability to submit a comment.

My company anticipates personnel changes in the coming years. Will the CPSC keep its database of Manufacturer contacts up to date? If so, how will they do that?

Each Manufacturer that is registered with the Business Portal is responsible for keeping the company's contact information current. This includes the name and contact information of its Primary Contact who is the administrative account holder, as well as any other additional users. Manufacturers can update this information through the Business Portal.

How will the CPSC ensure that a company's Primary Contact is not changed maliciously or by mistake?

When registering with the Business Portal, the Primary Contact for each Manufacturer will choose a username and password. An imposter would have to know the Primary Contact's username and password in order to log on and change a Manufacturer's Primary Contact or other Manufacturer user information.

The CPSC has the mailing address for my company's headquarters already. Why does the CPSC want my company to register with the Business Portal on www.SaferProducts.gov as well?

Online registration for the Business Portal on www.SaferProducts.gov will allow the CPSC to directly contact the Primary Contact for each Manufacturer, and any additional designated users, almost instantaneously, using email. Without this information, the CPSC would have to search other sources for the correct contact person and address.

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Business - Brand/Licensors

My company licenses brand names and trademarks to others but we do not manufacture or import consumer products. Should we register an account on the Business Portal?

Yes. If you license your brand or trademark for use on products manufactured by others, you may be a “private labeler” as that term is used in our statute. The law requires the CPSC to notify the manufacturer or private labeler identified in a Report that meets the minimum requirements for inclusion in the Database. Thus, companies that fall within the definition of a private labeler, including retailers with their own private label consumer products, should register an account on the Business Portal to receive Reports that identify them.

Even licensors that do not qualify as private labelers under our statute, but whose brand is likely to be used by consumers to identify the manufacturer or private labeler of a product should register an account on the Business Portal. The Business Portal has been configured to allow a licensor to register without requiring the licensor to indicate whether they are a manufacturer, importer or private labeler.

Who is a private labeler under the Consumer Product Safety Act?

The definition of private labeler is found in section 3(a)(12) of the CPSA, and states that a private labeler is “an owner of a brand or trademark on the label of a consumer product which bears a private label. A consumer product bears a private label if (i) the product (or its container) is labeled with the brand or trademark of a person other than the manufacturer of the product, (ii) the person with whose brand or trademark the product (or container) is labeled with has authorized or caused the product to be so labeled, and (iii) the brand or trademark of a manufacturer of such product does not appear on such label.”

My company is not a manufacturer, importer, or private labeler of consumer products, but we license brand names and trademarks for use on consumer products. Should we register an account on the Business Portal?

Yes. If your brand or trademark appears on a product manufactured by another entity but you do not fall within the definition of private labeler, you should still register an account on the Business Portal if consumers are likely to name your licensed brand or trademark as the manufacturer or private labeler of consumer products. The Business Portal has been configured to allow a licensor to register without requiring the licensor to indicate whether they are a manufacturer, importer or private labeler.

If you are the licensor but have been incorrectly identified by a consumer as the manufacturer of the product, you will need to submit a claim that the Report contains materially inaccurate information, and provide additional information about the correct manufacturer, importer, or private labeler to meet your burden of proof. (See Business – Accuracy) Licensors and licensees of brand names are in the best position to know and understand their brands and the products which carry those labels. In some instances a company could be a private labeler, while in others it may simply be a licensor. Thus, we encourage firms to provide us with branding information, or be prepared to tell us who the correct manufacturer, importer, or private labeler is, if known, so that Reports can be routed to the correct entity.

If a consumer identifies a brand name, instead of the name of the manufacturer, who will the CPSC notify about the Report?

Consumers sometimes do not recognize the difference between a brand name and a manufacturer name. Our staff, however, has been sending Reports to manufacturers and private labelers for many years, including Reports that only contain brand or trademark information. CPSC already has a database that cross references common brand information with the correct manufacturer, importer, or private labeler. We use this information to try to ensure that the correct manufacturer, importer, or private labeler receives relevant reports for comment in the first instance. If we have manufacturer or importer information associated with the brand, we will notify that entity.

Even for CPSC, however, it is not always obvious whether the brand or trademark on a product is licensed, or is owned by a manufacturer or private labeler. Accordingly, we may notify a firm named by the submitter of a Report, who is not a manufacturer, importer, or private labeler. In those instances, the firm receiving the Report should immediately submit a claim that the Report contains materially inaccurate information, and provide us with additional information on the correct entity to notify. Once this is done, the 10 business day Report publication clock stops, and will be reset to 10 business days once the corrected firm is notified.

Reports that do not contain a manufacturer, importer, or private labeler are not eligible for publication in the Database.

Who will the CPSC notify if a Report simply describes, for example, a cartoon character on a product, without identifying a manufacturer or private labeler?

Based upon our prior experience with a particular character or other identifying mark, we may be able to identify the licensor or brand owner. If so, we may contact the brand owner to ascertain the manufacturer. Should we need additional information from the consumer to do so, we may ask the consumer to provide us with more information about the make and model or other distinguishing characteristics of the product.

A Report that does not name a manufacturer or private labeler does not meet the minimum statutory requirements for publication in the Database. Unless the CPSC can identify a manufacturer or private labeler from information contained in the Report, the Report will not be included in the Database.

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Business - Reports FAQs

Will my competitor(s) be able to submit an anonymous complaint about my product(s) into the Database?

No. Anonymous Reports are not eligible for publication in the Database (See Reports - Content).

Do Sections 6(a) and 6(b) of the CPSA apply to Reports in the Database?

No. Section 6A(f) of the CPSA specifically excludes Reports that meet the minimum requirements for publication in the Database from the notice requirements of sections 6(a) and 6(b) of the CPSA. However, Reports that identify a Manufacturer, but do not otherwise meet the minimum requirements for publication, will be sent to Manufacturers pursuant to section 6(c) of the CPSA. These Reports, as well as other information historically sent to Manufacturers under section 6(c) of the CPSA, such as in-depth investigations (IDIs), will still be subject to the disclosure requirements of sections 6(a) and 6(b) of the CPSA.

I have registered my company in the Business Portal. Can I receive 6(c) notification through the Business Portal?

Yes. Enhancements to the Business Portal now enable a registered business to receive 6(c) notifications via e-mail to a registered user account. This happens automatically. Also, you can now provide comments to us about 6(c) notifications through the Business Portal.

Does the CPSC have any discretion to delay publishing Reports beyond the 10th business day after transmission of the Report to the Manufacturer?

No. The law requires the CPSC to publish a Report that contains the minimum required information to the Database no later than the 10th business day after sending a copy of the Report to the identified Manufacturer. The only exception to this is where the CPSC has made a determination that a Report contains a material inaccuracy before the Report is published in the Database. In this circumstance, the CPSC may briefly withhold a Report in order to make whatever correction to the Report is necessary to resolve the claim.

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Business - Confidentiality FAQs

What is confidential information?

“Confidential information” means information that contains or relates to a trade secret or other matter referred to in 18 U.S.C. 1905 or that is subject to 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4).

Who can submit a claim that a Report contains confidential information?

Only the Manufacturer named in a Report can submit a claim that a Report contains confidential information.

What is the process for filing a claim that a Report contains confidential information?

The easiest way to submit such a claim is through the Business Portal, but Manufacturers may also submit claims of confidential information through electronic mail to clearinghouse@cpsc.gov, or through postal mail to:

Consumer Product Safety Commission
Attn: Clearinghouse
4330 East West Highway
Bethesda, MD 20814-4408

Regardless of how the claim is submitted, CPSC's regulation at 16 C.F.R. §1102.24 states that each Manufacturer seeking such a designation of confidential information bears the burden of proof and must:

  1. Specifically identify the exact portion(s) of the report of harm claimed to be confidential;
  2. State whether the information claimed to be confidential has ever been released in any manner to a person who was not an employee or in a confidential relationship with the company;
  3. State whether the information so specified is commonly known within the industry or is readily ascertainable by outside persons with a minimum of time and effort;
  4. If known, state the company's relationship with the victim and/or submitter of the report of harm and how the victim and/or submitter of the report of harm came to be in possession of such allegedly confidential information;
  5. State how the release of the information would be likely to cause substantial harm to the company's competitive position; and
  6. State whether the person submitting the request for treatment as confidential information is authorized to make claims of confidentiality on behalf of the person or organization concerned.

Every Manufacturer making a confidential information claim must also: (a) verify that the information in the claim is true and accurate to the best of the Manufacturer's knowledge, information, and belief; and (b) certify in writing that the Manufacturer intends, in good faith, to assist the Commission in the defense of any judicial proceeding that may be brought thereafter to compel the disclosure of information that the Commission has determined to be a trade secret or privileged or confidential commercial or financial information.

When should I file a claim that a Report contains confidential information?

Although you can file a claim of confidential information at any time, you should submit your claim to CPSC as soon as possible after receiving the Report to prevent publication of the information in the Database.

If you want a claim of confidential information determined before a Report is published in the Database, you MUST submit your claim as soon as possible after receiving the Report, so that CPSC has time to make a determination. However, if timely submitted, information claimed to be confidential will be redacted from Reports until a determination can be made.

Will filing a claim of confidential information prevent publication of that information in the Database?

Filing a claim that a Report contains confidential information will not prevent the entire Report from being published in the Database on the 10th business day following transmission of the Report to the Manufacturer. However, if a request for confidential treatment is submitted in a timely fashion, the CPSC will either make a determination on the claim prior to posting the Report or, as a matter of policy, redact the portions of the Report claimed to be confidential before publishing it in the Database, until a determination can be made.

What action will the CPSC take on a claim that a Report contains confidential information?

The CPSC will review all claims that a Report contains confidential information. If the CPSC determines that designated information is confidential business or trade secret information, the CPSC is required to notify the Manufacturer and redact the designated information from the Report before placing it into the Database. If a Report has already been placed in the Database with the claimed confidential information redacted, it will remain redacted.

If the CPSC determines that the designated information is not confidential, it must notify the Manufacturer and include the designated information in the Database. If the Manufacturer disagrees with the CPSC's determination on its claim, it may bring an action in U.S. District Court to seek removal of the information from the Database.

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Business - Accuracy FAQs

Will the CPSC provide notice to users that the CPSC does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of information in the Database?

Yes. Language stating that that the CPSC does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of information in the Database will appear as a disclaimer throughout the Database and on any documents printed from the Database (See Consumer - Accuracy).

What is materially inaccurate information?

Materially inaccurate information is information that is false or misleading, and is so substantial and important as to affect a reasonable consumer's decision making about the product.

Who can submit a claim that a Report contains materially inaccurate information?

Anyone may submit a claim that a Report contains materially inaccurate information.

What is the process for filing a claim that a Report contains materially inaccurate information?

The best way for a Manufacturer to make a claim that a Report contains materially inaccurate information in a timely manner is through the Business Portal on SaferProducts.gov. Manufacturers, like the general public, may also submit claims of materially inaccurate information through electronic mail to clearinghouse@cpsc.gov, or through postal mail to:

Consumer Product Safety Commission
Attn: Clearinghouse
4330 East West Highway
Bethesda, MD 20814-4408

Regardless of how the claim is submitted to CPSC, someone submitting a claim that information in a Report is materially inaccurate bears the burden of proof and must:

  1. State the unique identifier of the Report to which the request for a determination of materially inaccurate information pertains;
  2. Specifically identify the exact portion(s) of the Report claimed to be materially inaccurate;
  3. State the basis for the allegation that such information is materially inaccurate;
  4. Provide evidence, which may include documents, statements, electronic mail, Internet links, photographs, or any other evidence, sufficient for the CPSC to make a determination that the designated information is materially inaccurate;
  5. State what relief the requester is seeking: exclusion of the entire Report; redaction of specific information; correction of specific information; or the addition of information to correct the material inaccuracy;
  6. State whether and how an alleged material inaccuracy may be corrected without removing or excluding an entire Report; and
  7. State whether the person submitting the allegation of material inaccuracy is authorized to make claims of material inaccuracy on behalf of the person or organization concerned.

Every person making a claim that a Report contains materially inaccurate information must also: (a) verify that the information in the claim is true and accurate to the best of the person or firm's knowledge, information, and belief; and (b) certify in writing that the they intend, in good faith, to assist the Commission in the defense of any judicial proceeding that may be brought thereafter to compel the disclosure of information that the Commission has determined to be materially inaccurate information.

When should I file a claim that a Report contains materially inaccurate information?

Material inaccuracy claims can be filed at any time before or after a Report is posted in the Database. However, if a Manufacturer wants the CPSC to try to make a determination on a claim of material inaccuracy before a Report is published, it should submit its claim as soon as possible after receiving the Report. The claim must be sent to the CPSC promptly, with sufficient time for the CPSC to review the claim, and make a determination on the claim, within the 10-business-day deadline before a Report is published in the Database.

Will filing a claim of material inaccuracy prevent publication of that information in the Database?

No. The CPSC cannot withhold publishing a Report beyond the 10-business-day deadline unless a determination has been made that it contains materially inaccurate information. In that circumstance, the CPSC may briefly withhold the Report in order to resolve the inaccuracy.

Can my claim that a Report contains materially inaccurate information be expedited in any way?

Anyone may request expedited review of a claim of materially inaccurate information if they timely submit such claim, clearly mark the claim for expedited review, and limit their submission to five pages (including attachments).

What action will the CPSC take on a claim that a Report contains materially inaccurate information?

The CPSC will review every claim that a Report contains materially inaccurate information, and will make every effort to make a determination on timely-received claims before a Report is published in the Database. However, the CPSC cannot guarantee that a determination will be made before a Report is published, regardless of when the claim is made.

If the CPSC makes a determination that a Report contains materially inaccurate information before a Report is published in the Database, the CPSC shall notify the person making such claim and take one of the following actions:

  1. decline to add the materially inaccurate information to the Database;
  2. correct the materially inaccurate information; and, if the minimum requirements for publication are still met, publish the Report in the Database; or
  3. add information to the Report to correct the materially inaccurate information; and, if the minimum requirements for publication are still met, publish the Report in the Database.

If a Manufacturer discovers after publication that a Report contains materially inaccurate information, what can the business do to correct the situation?

A claim that a Report contains materially inaccurate information may be made at any time. If the CPSC makes a determination that a Report contains materially inaccurate information after it has been published in the Database, we will notify the person or firm making the claim and take corrective action within seven business days of the determination.

How will the CPSC ensure that the submitter of a Report identifies the correct Manufacturer?

The CPSC requests much information on a Report form that assists the agency, other consumers, and the Manufacturer to identify the product and the correct Manufacturer. The Report form requests, but does not require, each submitter to provide as many details about the product as possible. The Report form also allows submitters the opportunity to upload a picture of the product. Also, the Report form asks for the name of the Manufacturer, as well as the brand name of the product. Finally, the Report form requests the submitter to keep the product in their possession for 30 days, if possible, which allows the CPSC to follow up with the submitter where necessary.

What happens if it is discovered that someone knowingly provides false information on a Report or manufacturer comment?

If it is discovered that someone knowingly provided false information on a Report or in a manufacturer comment, we will take action to remove materially inaccurate information from the Database. In addition, we will review the facts of each case, and where circumstances warrant, will seek legal remedies against those involved. (See also Consumer - Accuracy)

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Business - Self Reporting FAQs

How Can My Company Report a Potentially Defective or Hazardous Product?

Manufacturers, which includes importers, distributors, and retailers, are required to report to CPSC under Section 15 (b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) within 24 hours of obtaining information that reasonably supports the conclusion that a product fails to comply with an applicable consumer product safety rule or with any other rule, regulation, standard, or ban under the CPSA or any other act enforced by CPSC, or contains a defect that could create a substantial risk of injury to the public or creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, 15 U.S.C. 2064(b).

Section 15(b) reports must be made to:

Office of Compliance and Field Operations at CPSC, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814; Phone (301) 504-7574.

You may also submit a section 15(b) report online. See the next question for instructions. Section 15(b) reports will not be included on SaferProducts.gov.

Can a business submit a Section 15 report through the Business Portal?

Yes. If your business has registered, you can now go to the Section 15 Web page and sign in using your existing login ID. If your business is not registered, click first on “Report a Potentially Unsafe Product” and then “Report Without Registering” to start your report.

We encourage you to register so you can take full advantage of communicating with us electronically through the Business Portal.

Whistleblower Protections for Consumer Product Industry Workers.

If you work for a company that manufactures, imports, distributes, brands or sells consumer products, your employer may not fire or retaliate against you because you provided, caused to be provided, or are about to provide or cause to be provided to the employer, the federal government, or the attorney general of a state, information relating to any violation of, or any act or omission that you reasonably believe to be a violation of any law, order, rule, regulation, standard, or ban enforced by the CPSC.

For more information, see the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), download the OSHA factsheet, and visit: www.whistleblowers.gov for more information on these protections and how to file a complaint

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CPSC does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the contents of the Publicly Available Consumer Product Safety Information Database on SaferProducts.gov, particularly with respect to information submitted by people outside of CPSC.