U.S. Imposes Tougher Consumer Safety Rules

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), March 11, 2010 | Go to article overview

U.S. Imposes Tougher Consumer Safety Rules


Byline: Jeff Plungis Bloomberg News

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission adopted new rules that will make it easier to fine companies for defects in the goods they sell and paved the way for an eightfold increase in maximum penalties to $15 million.

The CPSC, which typically fines companies when their products cause injury or death, voted 4-1 Wednesday to broaden the list of reasons it may consider to include illnesses. The rules also permit the agency to impose penalties even if no one is hurt if the risk to consumers from a product is serious enough, according to an agency document explaining the new regulations.

The agency is acting on legislation Congress passed in 2008 that gives the commission more power and lets it raise maximum penalties "for any related series of violations" to $15 million from about $1.83 million. Wednesday's regulation is the groundwork needed to carry out that law.

"We are going to exercise our statutory right to levy even higher fines in appropriate cases," CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum said in an interview after the vote. …

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