Consumer Watchdog

Companies that make dangerous products, hide injuries would face higher penalties under proposed law

Bill introduced in the Senate and House would give CPSC more enforcement authority

Jonnica Hill |

A new federal bill aims to grant the Consumer Product Safety Commission more authority when penalizing companies that recklessly manufacture dangerous products or hide injuries or property damage that occur in connection with their products. The Consumer Advocacy and Protection (CAP) Act, was introduced by Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and supported by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn,) Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.)

Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) introduced a companion bill in the House.

The legislation would hold companies more accountable for product safety violations. About 300 consumer products — such as appliances, power tools, toys and recreation equipment — are recalled every year after potential hazards are discovered, sometimes because of injuries, deaths or property damage. The CAP Act would eliminate the maximum civil penalty a company can face after a series of violations, increase the cap for a single violation from $100,000 to $250,000 and clarify the types of offenses that fall under CPSC enforcement authority.

“Integrity and transparency are crucial to ensuring consumer protection, but massive companies continue to undermine federal safety standards by relying on their wealth to evade responsibility,” Welch said in a statement.

“Fundamentally faulty products like Generac portable generators and Peloton Tread+ treadmills seriously impacted consumers and more action is needed to deter manufacturers from rushing to release flawed products onto the market,” Blumenthal said in the statement. “By increasing penalty caps and allowing the CPSC to levee appropriate fines, the CAP Act will raise the stakes for companies and significantly bolster consumer safety.”

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