The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a new proposed rule on how businesses must certify that their products comply with CPSC safety rules. The new rule would totally strike the existing rule on certificates of compliance and replace it with a new regulation (16 C.F.R. § 1110). This proposed rule has important ramifications for every business that manufactures, imports, distributes, or sells consumer products. Although the rule has yet to be adopted, its potential impact has brought up numerous concerns for companies ranging from manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to many national industry organizations and even shipping organizations.
The new rule regulates how companies must certify consumer products as compliant so that they may be imported into or sold in the United States. In general, every specifically regulated consumer product must be accompanied by a certificate confirming that the product has been properly tested and meets all applicable rules, bans, standards, or regulations enforced by the CPSC. Certification and the underlying required testing is expensive and time consuming. However, it is a violation of the Consumer Product Safety Act for a company to manufacture, import, distribute, or sell a consumer product without a required certificate of compliance.