News
March 29, 2018

CPSC Notification Requirements, Recalls and Recent Enforcement Actions: Desk Reference for Section 15 of the Consumer Product Safety Act

Desk Reference

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC or the Commission) is a small federal agency with a big job: protecting consumers from unreasonable risks of injury from more than 15,000 types of products. With a budget request for fiscal year 2019 of approximately $123 million and 538 employees1—tiny by federal government standards—CPSC uses safety data submitted by companies pursuant to the notification requirements in Section 15 of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) to help carry out the agency's mandate.2 Further, following implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), which increased dramatically the maximum penalties for noncompliance, CPSC has been aggressively pursuing multi-million dollar penalties for alleged late reporting and other violations.3

Congress created CPSC as an independent commission, which means that it does not report to the President either directly or through any department or agency of the federal government. CPSC can have up to five Commissioners, one of whom serves as Chair, and only three of whom can be from the same political party. CPSC's Chair and Commissioners are appointed by the President for seven-year terms with the advice and consent of the Senate.4 Ann Marie Buerkle became Acting Chair in February 2017, and has been nominated to fill the position.5 As of February 2018, there is a 3-1 majority of Democrats on the Commission, which will change when the Senate confirms appointments to fill a vacancy and a replacement for Commissioner Marietta Robinson, who is holding over following the expiration of her term in October 2017.6

This Desk Reference first explains the Section 15 notification requirements, including the broad scope of CPSC's jurisdiction, and then discusses routes to a product safety recall, reporting and recall trends, and penalties and injunctive relief for late reporting.

© Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP 2018 All Rights Reserved. This Desk Reference is intended to be a general summary of the law and does not constitute legal advice. You should consult with counsel to determine applicable legal requirements in a specific fact situation.

  1. CPSC, Fiscal Year 2019 Performance Budget Request to Congress, Feb. 12, 2018.

  2. Pub. L. No. 92-573, 86 Stat. 1207 (1972), codified at 15 U.S.C. §§ 2051-2089.

  3. Pub. L. No. 110-314, § 217, 122 Stat. 3016, 3058 (2008).

  4. 15 U.S.C. § 2053.

  5. See PN825—115th Congress (2017-2018), Nomination of Ann Marie Buerkle to be Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (July 27, 2017); PN1361—115th Congress (2017-2018), Nomination of Ann Marie Buerkle to be Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (Jan. 8, 2018).

  6. Dana Baiocco has been nominated to fill the position that will be vacated by Commissioner Robinson. See PN1033—115th Congress (2017-2018), Nomination of Dana Baiocco to be a Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (Sept. 28, 2017); PN1358—115th Congress (2017-2018), Nomination of Dana Baiocco to be a Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (Jan. 8, 2018).

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