Here’s a brief review of three key developments concerning the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) from the past month or so to help you stay aware of important product safety legislative and regulatory happenings.

The CPSC Has a New Commissioner. On November 16, the United States Senate confirmed Richard Trumka Jr. to a seven-year term on the Commission by voice vote. Mr. Trumka Jr. will replace long-time Commissioner Robert Adler whose term expired last month. Importantly, with Mr. Trumka Jr.’s confirmation, the Commission will remain comprised of two Democratic (Hoehn-Saric and Trumka Jr.) and two Republican (Baiocco and Feldman) Commissioners. The Democrats will not have a majority on the Commission until current Biden nominee (and CPSC Executive Director) Mary Boyle is confirmed by the Senate—and the status of that nomination remains unclear. Ms. Boyle’s nomination is not on the Senate Commerce Committee’s “Nominations Hearing” agenda for December 1. You can read more about Mr. Trumka Jr.’s confirmation in our prior post about his confirmation. Continue Reading CPSC Insights – November 2021

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Bureau of Consumer Protection: Telemarketing and Do Not Call

  • The FTC released the National Do Not Call Registry Data Book for Fiscal Year 2021. The Data Book provides the most recent fiscal year information available on robocall complaints, the types of calls consumers reported to the FTC, and a complete state-by-state analysis. According to the Data Book, the FTC received 594,000 complaints about imposter calls (topping the list) during the fiscal year ending on September 30, 2021. This includes both live calls and robocalls where imposters posed as government representatives, such as the Social Security Administration, legitimate business entities, or as people affiliated with them. The Data Book also noted that three million people signed up with the FTC’s National Do Not Call Registry, bringing the total number of registrants to 244.3 million. The number of consumer complaints also increased from nearly four million in FY 2020 to over five million in FY 2021. 68% of the complaints concerned robocalls and 22% pertained to live telemarketing. The most common complaint regarding robocalls pertains to imposter calls; consumers reported more than 496,000 complaints for these types of calls.

In recent weeks, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “Commission”) sent nearly two thousand letters with a “Notice of Penalty Offenses” to a who’s who of companies across America, putting them on notice that they might face steep potential civil penalties if they engage in deceptive conduct. The letters targeted top consumer products companies, leading retailers and retail platforms, major ad agencies, and other advertisers nationwide that engage in online marketing, multi-level marketing, offer “gig” economy jobs, or are in the for-profit education sector. Continue Reading FTC “Notice of Penalty Offense” Letters – What Are They and What’s Next?

Monday, November 15, 2021

Financial Management Office: FTC Operations

  • The FTC issued its Fiscal Year 2021 Agency Financial Report outlining financial and high-level performance results and highlighting recent agency accomplishments. The 98-page report also contains an overview of the agency’s mission and organization, an independent auditor’s report of the FTC’s 2020 and 2021 financial statements, and the Office of the Inspector General’s assessment of the FTC’s top management and performance challenges.

Continue Reading FTC Updates (November 15-19, 2021)

A perfect storm of unprecedented stress on the global supply chain from the continuing COVID-19 pandemic coupled with the promise of increased FCPA enforcement by U.S. regulators makes this an opportune time for retailers to take stock of changes to their corruption risk profile and ensure that they adjust their compliance programs accordingly. Continue Reading Supply Chain Pressures Trigger Escalating FCPA Risks — Impact on Retailers

On Tuesday evening, the United States Senate confirmed Richard Trumka Jr. to a seven-year term on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) by voice vote. Mr. Trumka Jr. will replace long-time Commissioner Bob Adler whose term expired last month. Importantly, with Mr. Trumka Jr.’s confirmation, the Commission will remain comprised of two Democratic (Hoehn-Saric and Trumka Jr.) and two Republican (Baiocco and Feldman) Commissioners. The Democrats will not have a majority on the Commission until current Biden nominee (and CPSC Executive Director) Mary Boyle is confirmed by the Senate—and the status of that nomination remains unclear. Continue Reading Senate Confirms Trumka Jr. for Consumer Product Safety Commission; Adler to Retire After Twelve Year Run as Commissioner and Lifetime of Service to Agency

In a major move by California that may be but a harbinger of a dramatic sea change in banning or severely restricting the inclusion of hundreds of chemicals present in every-day consumer goods, California just imposed upon the consumer product industry (culminating, at least most likely for 2021, right before the end of October), a sweeping range of bans that likely will fundamentally disrupt the California consumer product economy. Continue Reading No Treats, Too Many Tricks, For PFAS This Halloween

Monday, November 8, 2021

Antitrust: Hart-Scott-Rodino Act

  • The Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division released the agencies’ 43rd Annual Hart-Scott-Rodino Report. The report provides HSR Premerger Notification data for fiscal year 2020, and its release coincides with an unprecedented surge in pre-merger filings during the current fiscal year.

Continue Reading FTC Updates (November 8-12, 2021)

Each year, thousands of products—from cosmetics to motor vehicles to children’s toys—are taken off the market over defects that pose potential safety concerns. Product recall announcements can generate a lot of publicity and quickly lead to class action or mass action lawsuits. Although a product recall does not automatically make a manufacturer liable, a quick and effective response can make all the difference. Product recalls are not necessarily “silver bullets” that defeat all civil claims, but a voluntary recall can serve as a strong defense in such suits, regardless of whether plaintiffs are claiming personal injury or only economic damage. Continue Reading Recall Litigation Report: CPAP Class Action MDL