February 10, 2009 untold numbers of children's products manufacturers and retailers will be closing their doors.

Government Accountability Office seeks input

Posted: May 1st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Act Now | No Comments »

As you may know, federal agencies are autonomous which sometimes results in conflicting missions between agencies. One such federal agency currently at odds with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) is the General Accountability Office (GAO). Simplistically described, the GAO is charged with oversight to ensure that regulations and laws are not so onerous that laws cannot be obeyed. Introduction thus dispensed with, the GAO is requesting answers to very specific questions. Please don’t respond with ire and outrage at the CPSIA law. Rather, answering these questions -targeted at importers, sorry- to the best of your ability is the most legitimate way to make a case against CPSIA. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Questions Regarding CPSC Authorities to Prevent Entry of Unsafe Consumer Products

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008 contained a mandate for GAO to study the effectiveness of CPSC’s authorities with respect to preventing the entry of unsafe products into the customs territory of the United States. The mandate also requires us to review and provide recommendations with respect to plans to prevent the entry of unsafe products. Finally, the mandate requires us to make legislative recommendations, at a minimum, related to CPSC’s inspection of foreign manufacturing plants and a requirement for foreign manufacturers to consent to U.S. jurisdiction with respect to CPSC’s enforcement actions.

1. Prior to the CPSIA, what activities did CPSC undertake to enforce its authorities regarding imported products? In your view, what were the gaps in the consumer product safety law regarding imported products that were meant to be filled by the CPSIA?

2. In your view, what principles or criteria could be used to judge the effectiveness of CPSC’s enforcement of its authorities regarding imported products? Are you aware of an appropriate and authoritative source of data to help us understand CPSC’s past and current performance, particularly with respect to imported products?

3. To what extent are CPSC’s efforts inhibited by resource issues? What other issues limit the effectiveness of CPSC’s enforcement activities with respect to imported products?

4. Based on your knowledge, what are the differences or similarities between CPSC and other federal agencies (FDA, USDA, and NHTSA) and other countries (EU, Australia, Canada, Japan, and China) concerning their authorities to prevent the entry of unsafe consumer products?

5. An issue of general concern for consumer product safety is the “switcheroo” problem, whereby the product subject to testing and the product actually sold are quite different. How significant is this issue and, based on your knowledge, what is industry doing to resolve it? What, in your view, is the appropriate role for CPSC in addressing this issue?

6. CPSC has cooperative agreements with 15 countries. Based on your knowledge, to what extent have the agreements been effective in preventing the entry of unsafe consumer products into the U.S.?

7. What in your view are appropriate criteria to judge the effectiveness of CPSC’s training and outreach efforts with foreign government officials and manufacturers?

Please forward your responses to:
Meghana Acharya, Senior Analyst
Financial Markets and Community Investment Team
U.S. Government Accountability Office
301 Howard Street, Suite 1200
San Francisco, CA 94105-2252
(415) 904-2158
Email


CPSIA Protest Rally April 1st in Washington DC

Posted: March 17th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Act Now | No Comments »

A rally has been planned to protest Congressional stonewalling over CPSIA, taking place in Washington DC on April 1st. Your presence is requested. The is the brainchild of Rick Woldenberg who says:

I am pleased to announce that on April 1 there will finally be an opportunity to go to Capitol Hill to tell Congress directly about the terrible impact of the CPSIA on our lives and businesses. Having been repeatedly denied the opportunity to explore the issues created by the CPSIA in public hearings by both the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the House Committee on Small Business since December, we have elected to organize our own rally and open hearings for this purpose. This unprecedented event is a true demonstration of democracy at work – the People will not be denied their say in this vitally important matter. The date – April Fool’s Day – is ironic but the open hearing and rally are quite real and will be held on time with a full slate of speakers and a wide range of participants. This event will include support from numerous trade organizations and is expected to feature remarks by Members of Congress as well as scientists and representatives of various organizations affected by the legislation such as small businesses, libraries, charities and thrift stores. This event will also be open to the media.

There are several ways you can signal your intent to join the event. You can leave a comment here, on the Facebook page, CPSIA-Ning or in this thread on the Fashion-Incubator site. A central planning site listing all activities and committees in charge of logistics (like accommodations) isn’t live yet but the URL is Amend the CPSIA (bookmark and check back later for content). However it is you sign up to come, be sure to let someone know (Jennifer is coordinating for F-I, you can also call her at 312-860-1186) so we can get a head count. Food will be provided the day of the event so our need to know is critical in many ways. Feel free to road trip and bring the kids to witness democracy in action. This event will be big, and include members of Congress!


My response to Representative Schakowsky

Posted: February 24th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Act Now | 7 Comments »

As I mentioned two Fridays ago, I received a letter from Jan Schakowsky, representative from Illinois. It wasn’t pleasant to say the least and is reprinted below. As many others suggested, the letter was intended to intimidate me and prevent me from exercising my right to free speech with respect to my protests against the CPSIA law. As far as can be determined, this letter is the only letter ever written by a legislator to a private individual regarding their activism in opposition to the CPSIA law. A well placed source suggests I’m being targeted as the focal point of a negative PR campaign. Whether this is true or not is yet to be determined but in any event, the correspondence merited a response if for no other purpose than to correct its inaccuracies. My response is reprinted following Schakowsky’s letter to me.

Representative Schakowsky’s writes:

February 12, 2009

Dear Ms. Fasanella:
It has come to my attention that, as author of the websites “Fashion-Incubator” and “National Bankruptcy Day,” you have used an illustration of a tombstone to mark the day on which certain provisions of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act went into effect.

I agree that the Consumer Product Safety Commission, under the leadership of Chair Nancy Nord, has not implemented the law in such a way that provided guidance and answers to business owners in a timely fashon. However, I am outraged and deeply offended that you have chosen to mark February 10th with such irreverence.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act was passed because there are children who have been injured and killed by dangerous products. These are children who were loved by their families but who now lie under actual tombstones. Let me give you some of their names:

  • Danny – at sixteen months, he was strangled when the top rail of his poorly designed, untested portable crib collapsed around his neck. Danny is one of seventeen babies who died from this particular design.
  • Kenny – on Thanksgiving Day 2005, Kenny died in excruciating pain after swallowing tiny magnets that had fallen out of his older siblings’ toys. The toys were sold, even knowing that the magnets fall out and the extreme damage – or in Kenny’s case, death – that can result when they are swallowed.
  • Jamell – died after swallowing a charm that came free with children’s shoes and was 99% lead content.
  • Liam – who was caught and suffocated in the gap that formed between his crib rail and mattress when the hardware failed.

All of those deaths and many more could have been prevented if a law like the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act had been in place. Out of respect for those children and their families, I hope you will remove all images of tombstones from your sites, tone down your rhetoric, and work to protect children’s lives by focusing on product safety.

Sincerely,

Jan Schakowsky
Member of Congress
Email

My response to Representative Schakowsky:
February 24, 2009
Ms Jan Schakowsky
2367 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative Schakowsky,

I am writing in reply to your letter dated February 12, 2009 in which you criticized pages on my websites at www.nationalbankruptcyday.com [cit] and www.fashion-incubator.com[cit]. These pages on my sites relate to implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, and the design you objected to expressed my view that the retroactive effect of the new lead and phthalate standards under the CPSIA will kill many small businesses. My main business is consulting to small apparel manufacturers. I care deeply about my clients and their businesses. These hard working Americans have no record of harming children with their products. The ill effects of the CPSIA on small apparel manufacturers and retailers will harm our country without making any child safer. Your chastisement of this point of view has only amplified my estrangement from some of the liberal, “consumer protection” groups that I respected and supported.

The debate over the CPSIA has long featured misuse of child injuries data by consumer advocates to justify the overreaching CPSIA. The enduring sorrows of these families should not be exploited callously for political gain. By overstating and distorting the relationship between the tragedies experienced by these families and the new law, your letter exemplifies the myriad inappropriate arguments in support of the CPSIA.

In your letter, you state that “[t]he Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act was passed because there are children who have been injured and killed by dangerous products” and provide four examples of deaths involving children’s products as an illustration. Your letter continues: “All of these deaths and many more could have been prevented if a law like the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act had been in place.” Sadly, this is untrue and a critical question in the debate over this law. You have argued that this draconian law was needed to fill a regulatory gap to save these children. However, as the CPSIA could not have been effective to change any of these sad outcomes, how can such a dramatic, over-arching and exceedingly costly law be justified? In this case, it cannot.

Your cited examples do not tell the whole story:

  • Your First Example: Danny, strangled by the top rail of his crib.
    Danny and seven other children were lost due to this product defect. The CPSC implemented a recall of Danny’s crib in 1993 and similar models were recalled over the next four years, primarily during the chairmanship of Anne Brown [cit/cit] . In cooperation with the JPMA, the CPSC developed voluntary standards for cribs that eliminated this product design flaw and today virtually all cribs sold in the United States meet these standards. None of this activity required any aspect of the CPSIA. Prior to the passage of the CPSIA, the CPSC had ample authority under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act and Consumer Product Safety Act to implement mandatory regulations but chose not to do so. In fact, both Acts empower the Commission to rely on voluntary standards if such standards would adequately prevent a risk of injury and would be substantially complied with. The new crib standards to be promulgated not later than August 2016 under the CPSIA simply makes mandatory what the CPSC had the authority to implement since 1970.
  • Your Second Example: Kenny, died after swallowing small magnets that had fallen out of toys.
    Kenny’s death was one of the first identified cases indicating a possible problem with multiple magnets. The CPSC implemented a recall of the product involved, as well as many other similar products, some of which contained hazardous magnets and some of which did not contain hazardous magnets [cit] . In light of the discovery of this new hazard, the ASTM F963-07 standard was updated to establish criteria for use of magnets in toys. As the hazard was unknown at the time of this accident, the CPSIA (had it been law at the time) would have had no impact on this child’s safety. As was fitting, the CPSC acted under prior legislative authority to remediate the problem upon discovery.
  • Your Third Example: Jarnell, died after swallowing a lead charm that came free with children’s shoes.
    Lead in children’s products that can cause injury has been banned since approximately 1970. In February 2005, after recalling a number of items of children’s jewelry that presented such a hazard, the Commission issued a policy statement that set forth the criteria for evaluating the hazards associated with such jewelry. Subsequently, in January 2007, the Commission commenced a rulemaking proceeding to formally define children’s jewelry as a banned hazardous substance. In March 2008, five months before the passage of the CPSIA, the manufacturer paid a $1,000,000 civil penalty to resolve the Commission’s allegations that it violated the law [cit]. As far as can be determined, the January 2007 rulemaking proceeding has been tabled in light of the CPSIA which mandates specific levels of lead in children’s jewelry. It is clear, however, that the CPSIA was not necessary to regulate leaden children’s jewelry and in fact the rulemaking might have been completed already had Congress not intervened. As a result, it can be argued that the CPSIA actually delayed implementation of rules on leaden jewelry.
  • Your Fourth Example: Liam, who suffocated in his crib when its hardware failed.
    Crib hardware has been an issue for 30 years at CPSC and is largely related to hardware loosening or becoming lost over time, especially with used cribs [cit/cit]. It is notable that the CPSIA does not address many of crib hardware issues other than to restrict the sale of used cribs that fail to comply with to-be-adopted mandatory standards (another retroactive standard). In fact, under the old FHSA and CPSA, the CPSC had the authority to address crib hardware issues that constituted product defects (see the first example) by recalling affected cribs and amending its existing crib rules if necessary to address hardware issues. Nothing in the CPSIA would have addressed the issues that led to Liam’s death, nor does the CPSIA confer authority on the agency to address hardware issues that did not exist prior to its passage.

Fundamentally, the issues underlying the four deaths you cite are not regulatory authority, but in fact resources (financial and personnel) and agency direction. The adequacy of prior legislation had nothing to do with these incidents and therefore the new law would not have remedied the above-referenced accidents. Blaming Acting Chairman Nancy Nord for the consequences of this absence of Congressional support is disingenuous.

On a personal note, I resent your implication that I am insensitive to children’s safety. The issue of children’s safety is not the sole possession of CPSIA supporters; there are many committed children’s advocates, mothers, teachers and counselors who adamantly oppose this law while still remaining very committed to safety. The vast majority of my manufacturers were compelled to enter the market for many of these reasons with products that exceed CPSIA standards. Unfortunately, today many of these same manufacturers are unable to locate contractors willing to take their work or even to acquire usual business insurance due to the fear of liability under the CPSIA. In an industry dominated by small firms (68% have fewer than 20 employees) the market chaos bodes poorly for consumers as well.

It is my sincere wish that the debate over the CPSIA can be conducted without twisting it into some sort of “good citizenship” test. The incontrovertible fact remains: CPSIA will not make children’s products safer but it will make them scarcer and more expensive. The law fails to incorporate concepts of risk assessment and will have the unintended consequence of devastating the business community and employment in this challenging economic environment.

We can do better than the CPSIA to protect our children. I would welcome a further constructive dialogue on how we can best achieve this goal for our nation.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Fasanella
www.fashion-incubator.com
www.nationalbankruptcyday.com

What didn’t make the final cut was this passage:

My delay in responding to your letter is due to indecision and mourning. Indecision wrought by my perceived futility of writing a response that will not be read anymore than the content of our continuing objections to CPSIA has been. As a life long liberal activist, I am grieving the loss of my faith in being forced to admit that the activist groups to which I’ve belonged, do not look beyond the rhetoric to examine root causes of our social afflictions.

I remain grieved that CPSIA has pitted activists against each other. I resent the polarization of well meaning but misinformed activists on both sides; reducing the controversy to simplistic descriptions of safety versus profits, right versus left, China versus domestic, and large enterprises versus small ones. It has simply become intolerable to me, not that I haven’t written of it many times before now.


Tomorrow’s Lead Regulation Deadline Will Ruin Small Businesses

Posted: February 9th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Act Now | 1 Comment »

From the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Childrenswear
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, February 09, 2009
CONTACT: Trey Ditto at tditto@rubenstein.com or 212-843-8063

The Childrenswear Coalition Warns Lawmakers: Tomorrow’s Lead Regulation Deadline Will Ruin Small Businesses. Without urgent action by Congress, runaway rules will force manufacturers out of business, cost thousands of jobs

NEW YORK – Tomorrow’s February 10 deadline to comply with the new federal lead regulations will lead to massive job losses in New York ’s garment industry, as small manufacturers are forced to return upwards of $500 million in untested lead clothing from retailers with to 4,000 employees being laid off, according to the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Childrenswear (www.safechildrenswear.org). The only way to stop this catastrophe is by Congress intervening immediately.

“Congress has one more day to save thousands of jobs in New York and tens of thousands of jobs in America by demanding the Consumer Product Safety Commission fix these runaway regulations,” said Cory Silverstein, Executive President of Kids Headquarters and a Member of the Coalition Executive Committee. “If New York Members of Congress don’t intervene in the 11th hour and prevent these unrealistic rules from being applied retroactively to safe products already on the shelves, thousands of their constituents will be out of work and their districts will lose hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.”

Another course of action could be inserting Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-SC) legislation into the stimulus plan. The bill, that costs nothing, calls for a delay in the rules to give the CPSC the time it needs to develop a balanced, sensible approach to testing and certifying children’s clothing and eliminating the retroactive implementation of the regulation by making the compliance deadline for the new standards a “manufactured by” date, not a “sell-by” date. Thus far, the bill has received no support from Democrats and its leadership.

“The only thing that makes less sense than the CPSC’s regulations is Congress refusing to use the stimulus bill to save thousands of good manufacturing jobs,” Silverstein said. “If they are willing to spend almost one trillion dollars on projects and programs they think will project jobs, you would think they would be thrilled to have the opportunity to keep thousands of Americans employed without spending one dime.”

The new federal rules, which implement new lead standards set by Congress in the Consumer Product Safety Improve Act (CPSIA) that was passed last year, would retroactively apply to children’s clothing already on store shelves and in the inventory pipeline, forcing manufacturers to take back upwards of $500 million in returns of safe products. A ruling by the Consumer Product Safety Commission delayed some testing requirements for a year and said retailers should act in good faith that their products are safe. This stay – deemed unacceptable by the coalition – has created mass confusion among retailers, who are erring on the side of caution and will return untested products to manufacturers.

“If these totally unreasonable and unrealistic regulations go into effect on February 10th, they will have a devastating impact on a critical small business sector in New York at the worst possible time, when retail sales are plummeting and our economy is losing jobs across the board,” said Steve Levy, Director of Operations of Star Ride Kids and member of the coalition’s executive committee. “Once the February 10 deadline passes, we expect to receive hundreds of boxes of clothing from our retailers who are erring on the side of caution and returning untested clothing. And if the Commission or Congress doesn’t act, small businesses will go bankrupt and thousands of employees will be laid off.”

The Coalition, which represents 130 small manufacturers in New York , said it fully supports the spirit of the new lead standards, but a broad mandate is reckless and unrealistic.

“Our Coalition is committed to producing clothing that is safe and healthy for children. We are parents as well as business people, and we take our responsibilities to our consumers extremely seriously,” said Silverstein. “But you can’t just take an ax to such a broad issue. Instead, the Commission must evaluate each industry.”
###


Testing for thee but not for me*

Posted: February 6th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Act Now | 2 Comments »

*[Title courtesy] Whilst twittering about this morning, what did I find but an NRDC spokesperson flogging their all organic onesie? Ever in the market for a great product -even tho my baby will be 22 next May- I bought one. For a buck. Yep, their donations form will accept one US dollar so ignore those suggested donation amounts; they have money so I figure they can absorb the cost since all of us will be going out of business come February 10th. I think everyone should stock up now!

You recall the NRDC don’t you? They’re one of the parties who lobbied for this great CPSIA law. Considering they wrote and lobbied for the law, wouldn’t you think they’d be up on it? Turns out, they aren’t. Nope. Their spokesperson twittered:

The testing requirements only apply to manufacturers. We’re not a manufacturer.

and

The NRDC attorney who worjed [sic] on our suit about #CPSIA tells me the testing requirements only apply to manufacturers.

Ohmigosh! Can you believe it? The NRDC is selling non-CPSIA compliant products! Even they don’t understand that as the private labeler, they are the manufacturer! Boy, I can hardly wait till I get mine, I’ll bet those snaps won’t pass an XRF lead test. Jolly Jolly! I’ll bet people will be lining up on Tuesday to report them to the CPSC. So what say all of you? Don’t you have a hankering for a lead laden $1 onesie courtesy of our friends at the NRDC?

More here.


CPSIA = Cultural Genocide, another win for Congress!

Posted: January 9th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Act Now | 13 Comments »

I just know you’re going to be jolly jolly jolly to read the latest unintended consequence of CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act). Truly, the CPSIA is a gift from Congress that keeps on giving; I’m giddy just telling you about it. Just when I think it can’t get any better, Congress comes through with another knock out punch -this time, it’s cultural genocide against Native Americans! Yes! I can see you nodding, it just gets better and better. Enough preamble, here’s Janet Littlecrow who wrote me to explain how the CPSIA is the equivalent of cultural genocide:

The new law will cut our business in half, because there is no way that we can afford to test one-of-a-kind outfits. We’ll be totally knocked out of the kids dance clothing business, except for Canadian orders. It’s the death of our dreams too, cultural genocide for us.

These recently completed and sold outfits will be illegal for us to sell next month, so we’re trying to finish and sell all of our children’s inventory by Feb 10. The loss of children’s business will probably bankrupt us. Business is way down, except that people have been ordering dance clothes for their children and grandchildren. Dance regalia isn’t a necessity per se, but it’s almost a necessity among many families for their children. I’ve been working at this business for six years, and can’t even go back to my computer career again.

It’s cultural genocide for us too. We won’t be able to support our native cultures by getting children dancing in the powwow arena. We won’t be able to make dance outfits for any more children’s Native American dance troupes, or foundations, or Indian student groups or school Johnson-Omalley programs. We won’t be able to dress younger girls who are school princesses either, we’ll have to check ages of customers. It’s a major blow for us, and I can’t see any way around it. It’s probably the death of our business. It’s certainly the death of our dreams. We can’t dress children for our culture any more. The government wins another round of forced assimilation.

Janet Littlecrow
Littlecrow Trading Post LLC
PO Box 243
Red Rock, OK 74651
(580) 723-9244

See Janet’s web page on the CPSIA and cultural genocide for more information. You can also consider contacting Native America Calling to interest them in the cause. I haven’t heard back from them yet.


Please take the Economic Impact Survey

Posted: January 1st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Act Now | 12 Comments »

I’m not above begging. Please take this survey I created in an attempt to measure the impact of the CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) on small businesses like yours. It is industry neutral meaning it works for any industry so please pass the link around on line. Obviously, the goal is to attempt to measure the effects of the law on businesses which thus far, the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) has implied would be negligible. Right. If you’re a larger concern, the AAFA created a survey that may be more appropriate but there’s no reason you couldn’t do both.


Endorsement of the NAM Plan

Posted: December 20th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Act Now | 4 Comments »

On December 18, 2008, The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) submitted an exhaustively inclusive 15 page document (pdf) in response to the CPSC’s request for comments. It is the position of this site to heartily endorse this plan. Furthermore, NAM is commended for their proactive action in this matter.

Other entities supporting the plan:

  • American Apparel & Footwear Association
  • Association of American Publishers
  • Book Manufacturers Institute, Inc.
  • Fashion Jewelry Trade Association
  • Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association
  • National Association of Manufacturers
  • National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers
  • National Retail Federation
  • Retail Industry Leaders Association
  • Printing Industries of America
  • Specialty Graphic Imaging Association
  • Toy Industry Association
  • Fashion-Incubator.com

Feel free to comment if you’re not represented by one of these groups. For the greatest impact, consider printing the plan and mailing it to the address included in the header. Be sure to include your contact information with your statement that you support it.


Urgent: Please collect lab price quotes

Posted: December 19th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Act Now | 3 Comments »

Thanks to your efforts, we’ve gained the ear of key legislators and media. However, as no law maker wants to be known as “the legislator who wants to put lead back in toys”, we need documentation. Now. If you’ve gotten any price quotes, please send those as they are desperately needed. If you prefer, you can upload them at CPSIA Central.

One senator -a sponsor of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act- who understands manufacturing, has also requested testing time estimates. He wants to know how long will it take for lab results to be returned to you. In other words, he understands that waiting on testing for several weeks can amount to unanticipated losses, particularly if delivery deadlines are missed due to a lengthened production schedule.

If you have requested a price quote and have not received one, please send a statement that includes the date of your submission, to whom it was sent, a description of the product, a description of the testing requested (if known) and your contact information. Rob Wilson -who’s been waiting five business days for a price quote- mentions Bureau Veritas won’t even give estimates. This and related information is likewise useful as it demonstrates one is compelled to commit to testing without knowing the costs.


CPSIA activists hurting the cause!

Posted: December 5th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Act Now | 13 Comments »

Judging from the dramatic increase in postings I’m seeing on other forums and blogs, the mission has finally gone viral with several news stories purportedly in the works. Yeah us. But, I’m p.o’ed. Welcome back Kathleen!

There is one common theme I’m reading that has me very upset -other than the outright fabrications and rumors. Repeatedly, people are framing this as an issue of large vs small manufacturers. Small manufacturers are either saying this CPSIA mess was a strategy cooked up by the big guys to eliminate competition or that this legislation will hurt small players more than large ones. Both of these positions are false. You lose -we lose- a lot of credibility if you take either position so just stop it, stop it now. I’ll explain why we lose if people keep repeating these two messages.

Here’s why large manufacturers are hit worse than small ones:

  • They are more visible, they can’t hide.
  • Their customers are better informed.
  • They have factoring and loans.

There’s thousands of small manufacturers hiding, sewing in their guest bedroom, selling consumer direct and hoping that the authorities don’t catch up with them. Few of your customers will know to ask if you are compliant. If you have any financing, it’s either credit cards, a personal loan or heaven forbid, home equity. Large manufacturers have no such benefits.

Issue #1, being larger, big manufacturers make a better target; they’re easier to hit. It’s easier to go after them than the thousands of you. Much more bang for the buck as far as enforcement dollars are concerned and you’d better believe agency funding is contingent upon ROI too. Second, their customers aren’t blissfully unaware Etsy buyers. No, their customers are big box retailers who have cadre of attorneys who are concerned about their own liability. Speaking of, large retailers will be hit hard so stop saying they’re in on the plot too. They’re not going to take a chance on stocking product that’s not compliant. As such, they are making a lot of demands on manufacturers, some of which are not warranted by the CPSIA guidelines so that’s a whole other story but suffice to say, your customers aren’t twisting your arms. Lastly, as I said before, manufacturers take out loans which are legal contracts. For the contract to be legal, the goods must be legally sale able. If the goods aren’t compliant, they’re not legal and so no loans. And yes the factors loaning money are well aware of this for those who keep asking. You’re not the only entity who needs credit to keep your enterprise going between product cycles. The truth is closer to “the bigger they are, the harder they fall”.

Issue #2, I know who started the rumor that this was a ploy of large manufacturers to put small ones out of business but I won’t dignify him with a link. Get real. You are not a threat. This posture is narcissistic and grandiose. How are you that important? Your two hundred units a year is a big deal to you but they don’t even feel it. Why would you presume to be worth the effort of a hare-brained scheme to undermine you? It’s really insulting too. Do you presume they’re so money hungry they roll drunks too? Who has the time? I think Rick Woldenberg’s defense of small businesses was not just genuine and impassioned, it was based on business pragmatics. He buys a lot of stuff from small manufacturers in addition to making his own stuff. If you go out of business, that hurts his bottom line. So why would you repay someone like Mr. Woldenberg with these childish accusations? It is embarrassing that I even have to write something like this publicly. How can you expect the press and politicos to take you seriously if you say things like this?

But that’s not the biggest problem. The issue is splintering activism. This isn’t a fight against big manufacturers, it’s a fight against a law passed by Congress so these two positions are just stupid. Is your intended goal to have Congress shut down all the big guys or to rescind the legislation? If it is to put the big boys out of business then sit tight, Congress has done everything but nail the coffin shut. You’re the ones who can skate by. And by the way, since we’re on the topic, I will continue to delete vapid comments from people who blame Obama when he’s not even president. If you are compelled to blame a president, blame the one who signed the bill into law.

The issue is, if you make the weak points that this is a conspiracy of big manufacturers out to get you, you’re going to lose all credibility because the people that matter, the ones who can cover this story in the press, have enough sophistication to understand the dynamics of retail and you’ll look grandiose and ignorant of business matters or like a wild eyed conspiracy theorist. Neither position is credible or attractive.

Some other ideas mucking things up:

  • The problem is not component testing so stop saying that. Yeah, I get it, component testing is expensive but it’s still a money saver over unit testing which is what we’re required to do.
  • Small businesses produce better and safer products than large ones. The opposite is more likely to be true. Did you see the pacifiers with 98% lead swarovski crystals glued to them by a home “artisan”?
  • Being against the proposed legislation does not mean we support selling dangerous products. The problem is, this law will put out the very people who are already following safety guidelines. It’s larger manufacturers, not smaller ones who tend to be more compliant. You might not like that but it’s true.
  • This law will not put the bad eggs out of business. If they didn’t care about previous guidelines, this law won’t stop them either.

Previous entries in this series:
New product safety regulations that affect all manufacturers
CPSIA Requirements
National Bankruptcy Day
CPSIA: Unit vs Component Testing
CPSIA: What must be tested
Up, up and away…
CPSIA: Confusion run amok


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