MADIGAN CALLS ON CPSC TO CREATE SECONDARY MARKET RECALL STRATEGY
Attorney General Discovers Hundreds of Recalled Bassinets
Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today called on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to develop a second-hand market strategy to curb the sale of dangerous recalled products at online sites like Craigslist and eBay and in community resale shops.
Madigan challenged the CPSC after learning that hundreds of recalled bassinets remained for sale on Craigslist and eBay despite a recent, extensive recall of dangerously defective bassinets that have caused two children's deaths.
"In a matter of days, my office has identified hundreds of these recalled bassinets that are still for sale online and in communities," Madigan said. "Our investigation makes clear that the CPSC must do more to keep families safe from dangerous products. If these recalled items are still for sale on the secondary market, then what good is a recall? It's nothing more than a piece of paper if it doesn't effectively communicate with consumers and hold manufacturers accountable. "
Madigan's challenge to the CPSC follows the federal agency's recall of Simplicity-brand bassinets on Aug. 27, 2008. In the days following the recall announcement, Madigan's office conducted an investigation and discovered that Graco-brand bassinet models (manufactured by Simplicity) also contained the deadly design flaw. Madigan immediately notified CPSC and, as a result, the agency expanded its recall on Sept. 11, 2008.
After the recall expansion, Madigan's staff began targeting the online secondhand market for recalled bassinets. Since early September, Madigan's office has identified and contacted hundreds of people across the country who were selling recalled bassinets on Craigslist and eBay and worked with them to secure refunds or store credits from retailers. None of the families the Attorney General's office worked with knew of the CPSC's recall.
As the result of her office's investigation, the Attorney General also announced a statewide initiative to identify recalled products for sale on the secondary market in Illinois and help Illinois consumers secure refunds or store credits from retailers.
Madigan said the federal government's failure to keep consumers safe spurred her office to establish a new program recruiting "Recall Watchdogs" as part of a grassroots effort targeting recalled products unknowingly sold online at sites like Craigslist and eBay or at resale shops.
"We know these dangerous products are still out there, posing serious health and safety risks to our children," Madigan said. "As we have worked to raise awareness of dangerous product recalls, we've repeatedly heard from consumers who are anxious to learn more and get involved in making sure that their friends and relatives know about recalls. Today, we are encouraging consumers to join us and help us find these products and get them out of our friends' and families' homes as quickly as we can."
Madigan's Watchdogs will work with the Attorney General's office to monitor Craigslist and eBay postings in their communities and visit their local resale shops and garage and yard sales to check for recalled products being sold unknowingly. To join Madigan's office as a Watchdog, consumers can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
"These products don't just vanish when a recall is issued. They wind up in people's homes and communities," Madigan said. "Our goal is to raise awareness of recalled products so that we can protect families from these dangerous items."
Since 2005, the CPSC has recalled more than 2.5 million cribs and bassinets manufactured by Simplicity, Inc. following the deaths of five children and numerous incidents and injuries as a result of product design flaws. Madigan said following this latest round of recalls she is sending a letter to CPSC Acting Chairwoman Nancy Nord, advising her of the Attorney General's findings and inviting CPSC staff to meet with her staff.
"It's clear that recall information doesn't reach the people who need it the most," Madigan said. "We have to make recalls effective. The process must change. I urge the CPSC to do its job to ensure our children's safety."
For more information about product recalls, consumers can call Madigan's recall hotline at 1-888-414-7678. The hotline helps callers identify recalled products in their homes and offers consumers access to information concerning how to contact companies to repair or return affected products. Madigan said her office has distributed flyers announcing the bassinet recall and what consumers can do to secure a refund to the AARP, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Hospital Association, Cook County Public Health Department, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Illinois Hospital Association, Illinois Retail Merchants Association and the Illinois State Medical Society. The flyers are available in English, Spanish and Polish. Consumers also can sign up to receive e-mail notification of recalls as they are issued at www.cpsc.gov.