Just in time for the holiday season, USA Today reveals the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) pulled inspectors from ports around the country in mid-March due to COVID-19. The shutdown continued to September, meaning inspectors were not at the ports “while this year’s holiday gifts entered the U.S.,” the piece emphasizes.
The holiday season alone generated $1.14 trillion in 2019, and is expected to generate even more this year. The products that went uninspected during the shutdown are already in the market, or worse, purchased and tucked beneath Christmas trees across the country. As a result, consumer product companies face significant challenges and implications in the foreseeable future.
Let’s take a look at some of the top data and information we pulled from USA Today’s investigation:
What This Means For Companies
There’s no doubt port violations recorded during the shutdown dropped significantly. While it’s good news the CPSC prioritized the health and safety of its workers, the lack of inspections means product violations may have slipped through the cracks. These products, which could endanger consumers, have already made it to the market and are on shelves being sold around the country.
The data also shows children’s products were heavily implicated, an indication that regulators’ attention and scrutiny around this category will continue and perhaps escalate.
At a time when fear is prevailing, USA Today’s investigation has the potential to spur even more fear among consumers, encourage consumer advocacy groups to take action, and garner the media’s attention. As a result, pressure on regulators will intensify.
Combine these events and it’s likely we’ll see product recalls skyrocket as the world re-opens and regulators turn their attention back on companies who may be selling defective products that went unnoticed. Are your crisis and recall plans prepared for what’s to come?
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