Retailers must report dangerous products or face penalty

When a retailer that sells a product that is defective learns about an issue that could result in serious injury to a consumer, under federal law, that businesses must report the issues with the product to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. If it does not do so within 24 hours, it could face a civil penalty.

Office Depot is facing this reality right now. It was penalized $3.4 million for not reporting an unreasonable risk of serious injury and defects involving two models of office chairs. The financial penalty is not the only thing the retailer faces. Among other things it also has agreed to maintain a compliance program, as well as a system, of procedures and internal controls that complies with the CPSC policies.

There were many reports of problems with the chairs that prompted the penalty. Specifically the seatback detached from 186 of the two chair models. At total of 39 people were hurt in the incidents. Between 2006 and 2012, at total of 1,550,000 of the two chair models combined, were sold.

Action from the CPSC is only part of what Office Depot could face. Those who were hurt by the defective chairs could take legal action against the retailer as well. For assistance with a product liability lawsuit it is a good idea to work with a lawyer.