Reports - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Reports - General FAQs

What is a Report?

A report of harm (also called a Report) contains information about a harm or risk of harm related to the use of a consumer product or other product or substance within the CPSC's jurisdiction.

People submitting Reports to the CPSC will be asked to provide details about a harm or risk of harm related to the use of a consumer product, or other product or substance within the jurisdiction of the CPSC. An asterisk (*) appears next to the information below that is required for publication in the Database. Other information is requested, and will be helpful to the CPSC if provided. Information requested in a Report includes:

  1. Description of the consumer product or substance; *
  2. Identification of the manufacturer or private labeler; *
  3. Description of an illness, injury, or death, or risk of injury, illness, or death related to the use of a consumer product or other product or substance within the jurisdiction of the CPSC; *
  4. Description of the date, or an approximate date, on which the incident occurred; *
  5. Indication of which category of submitter they fall within, i.e., consumer, government agency, health care professional, child service provider, or public safety entity; *
  6. Name, mailing address, telephone, and email address for the submitter of the Report; *
  7. Victim's name and contact information;
  8. Photographs and documents which assist to identify a product or manufacturer;
  9. Whether an injury occurred and whether, and what type, of medical treatment was received;
  10. Whether or not the submitter consents to publication of the Report in the Database; *
  11. Whether or not the submitter consents to provide their name and contact information to the manufacturer or private labeler identified in the Report; and
  12. Verification of the truth and accuracy of the information in the Report. *

Who can submit Reports to the Database?

Reports of harm submitted for inclusion in the Database can come from many sources, including: consumers; local, state, and federal government agencies; health care professionals; child service providers; and public safety entities.

In the final rule on the Database, the definition of “consumers” includes, but is not limited to, users of consumer products, family members, relatives, parents, guardians, friends, attorneys, investigators, professional engineers, agents of a user of a consumer product, and observers of the consumer products being used.

Is this the only way the CPSC will accept Reports?

No. In addition to receiving Reports submitted online through SaferProducts.gov, the CPSC will continue to accept Reports via the CPSC telephone Hotline at 800-638-2772; through reporting forms submitted by fax to (855) 221-6466; or by postal mail addressed to:

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

These Reports will be processed by the CPSC in the same manner as Reports that are submitted online, and will be placed in the Database if they meet the minimum requirements for publication.

Will the CPSC post Reports in which a consumer describes dissatisfaction with the cost or quality of a product, without describing a safety-related problem?

No. Any Report submitted to the CPSC for inclusion in the Database that does not describe an illness, injury, or death, or risk of illness, injury, or death, and that relates solely to the cost or quality of a consumer product, will not be posted in the Database.

Is the Database a blog site for product safety issues?

No. A blog site allows multiple third parties to comment and publish remarks about topics without review. In the Database, only the submitter of a Report and the manufacturer (including importer) or private labeler identified in a Report may have information posted on SaferProducts.gov.

Unlike a blog site, every Report and comment is reviewed to ensure that they meet minimum requirements. Also unlike a blog site, each person submitting information to the CPSC must certify that they have reviewed the Report and that it is true and accurate to the best of their knowledge, information, and belief. The CPSC has the discretion to remove information from the Database that is irrelevant to product safety, describes a product outside of CPSC's jurisdiction, or is materially inaccurate.

Is the Database similar to Internet product review sites?

No. A product review site normally allows multiple third parties to comment and publish their opinions about products without prior review of the web site's owner. Only the submitter of a Report and the manufacturer or private labeler identified in a Report may submit information about the Report for inclusion in the Database.

Every Report submitted is reviewed by CPSC staff to ensure that it meets the minimum requirements mandated by the law and the Commission's final rule on the Database at 16 CFR 1102 (effective January 10, 2011), available at 75 FR 76832 (Dec. 9, 2010)), before publication in the Database.

What is the process after a Report is submitted to the CPSC?

When a Report is submitted, the CPSC has up to five business days, where practicable, to review the Report and any pictures or documents that have been attached, and to check for the minimum required information before we must send the Report to the manufacturer or private labeler identified in the Report. Occasionally it may take longer than five business days to forward a Report to a manufacturer if the company 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 sends a copy of the Report to the manufacturer or private labeler. This means that Reports are generally posted in the Database in approximately 15 business days after they are submitted to the CPSC.

A manufacturer or private labeler that receives a Report from the CPSC may submit a comment in response to the Report at any time. Businesses can choose whether to have their comments visible online along with the Report. 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 for us 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, along with any comments from the manufacturer, to the Database.

Will the CPSC investigate my Report and take action?

Agency staff examines every Report that is submitted. Due to the large volume of Reports received by the CPSC each year, agency staff, unfortunately, cannot investigate and respond to every Report on an individual basis. As a data-driven agency, every Report is important to the CPSC as it undertakes additional analysis and product investigations, where appropriate.

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Reports - Content FAQs

What information is required for a Report to be published in the Database?

Section 212 of the CPSIA and our regulation (16 CFR 1102.10(d)) require certain minimum information to be included in a Report for it to be posted in the Database on SaferProducts.gov. To be published a Report must include:

  1. Description of the consumer product or substance;
    We can only publish Reports that describe a product that is within the CPSC's jurisdiction.
  2. Identification of the manufacturer or private labeler;

  3. Description of an illness, injury, or death, or risk of injury, illness, or death related to the use of a consumer product or other product or substance within the jurisdiction of the CPSC;
    Complaints solely about the cost or quality of a product will not be published.
  4. Description of the date, or approximate date, on which the incident occurred, or when the submitter first became aware of the potential for a product to act in an unsafe manner;

  5. Indication of the category in which a submitter falls;
    Eg: consumer, government agency, health care professional, child service provider, or public safety entity.
  6. Name and complete mailing address of the submitter of the Report;
    Although this information will never be posted in the Database, it is required that the name and contact information of the submitter be given to the CPSC for a Report to be published.
  7. Whether or not the submitter consents to publication of the Report in the Database; and

  8. Verification that the submitter reviewed the Report and that the information in the Report is true and accurate to the best of the submitter's knowledge, information, and belief.

By law, CPSC can only publish Reports into the Database that contain this required minimum information.

What will CPSC do if it receives Reports that do not meet the minimum criteria for publication in the Database?

Reports that do not meet the minimum criteria for publication in the Database will be reviewed by staff and saved in our system for our internal use when appropriate. Collection and review of all Reports are important to the CPSC's mission to protect the public from unsafe products.

Is there any information in a Report that will not be published in the Database?

The following information in a Report will not be published in the Database:

  1. Name and contact information of the submitter of the Report;
  2. Name of a victim or near victim, unless a parent, guardian, or appropriate legally authorized representative has provided appropriate legal consent to publish that information;
  3. Photographs that are not in the public interest to publish, including photographs that identify a person or that would constitute an invasion of personal privacy;
  4. Medical records without consent;
  5. Information determined to be confidential (See Business – Confidentiality);
  6. Information determined to be materially inaccurate (See Consumer – Accuracy);
  7. Consents and verifications related to a Report or to a manufacturer's comment; and
  8. Information that is not in the public interest to publish, which includes information that the CPSC determines is not relevant to assist people in:
    1. Identifying a product;
    2. Identifying a manufacturer or private labeler;
    3. Understanding the harm or risk of harm related to the use of the product; or
    4. Understanding the relationship between the submitter of a Report and the victim.

Can I submit a Report anonymously?

Yes. Reports submitted anonymously will be accepted by the CPSC. However, by law, anonymously submitted Reports cannot be published on SaferProducts.gov.

Although the contact information of a submitter of a Report is required for publication, CPSC will never post this information in the Database. When Reports are submitted with contact information, other consumers can see and benefit from seeing the Report, but will not be able to see who submitted the Report. We discourage consumers from submitting Reports anonymously so that your Report can be included in the Database, and so that the CPSC may contact you, if necessary, to follow up regarding your Report.

If I provide my name and mailing address on a Report, will the CPSC ever give this information out to anyone else?

Your name and contact information will never appear in the Database. You will be given the option of allowing the CPSC to provide your name and contact information to the manufacturer or private labeler that you identified in your Report. By law, we can provide this information to the manufacturer only if you give us written permission to do so.

Can the CPSC exclude Reports from the Database that describe only a risk of harm, rather than an actual harm or injury?

No. Congress defined harm to include the “risk of injury, illness, or death.”

If my contact information goes to the manufacturer, are there restrictions on how they can use it?

Yes. The law states that manufacturers and private labelers who receive a submitter's name and contact information must not use or disseminate that information to any other party for any purpose other than verification of a Report.

The CPSC's regulation states that verification of a Report must not include activities such as sales, promotion, marketing, warranty, or any other commercial purpose. A manufacturer or private labeler may use your name and contact information to verify the following types of information on a Report:

  • Identity of the submitter and/or the victim, including name, location, age, and gender;
  • Consumer product, including serial or model number, date code, color, or size;
  • Harm or risk of harm related to the use of the consumer product;
  • Description of the incident related to use of the consumer product;
  • Date or approximate date of the incident; and/or
  • Category of submitter.

Restrictions on the use of your contact information apply only to the manufacturer (including importer) and private labeler. This means that you, as a consumer, are free to contact the manufacturer or private labeler for any reason, including asking for a resolution of your safety concerns, if that is what you wish to do.

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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.