CPSC votes against crib sell-through extension
Jane Kitchen -- Home Textiles Today, June 17, 2011
Washington, D.C. -- The Consumer Product Safety Commission voted down a proposal last week to allow for a sell-through extension for cribs that do not meet the new 16CFR regulations that go into effect June 28.
In a meeting on June 16, Chairman Tenenbaum and Commissioners Adler and Moore voted against the extension of the compliance date, while Commissioners Nord and Northup voted in favor, in a close 3-2 decision.
The National Independent Nursery Furniture Retailers Association, Baby News, USA Baby, and the All Baby and Child Board had petitioned the CPSC to allow retailers an additional 180 days past the June 28 deadline for retailers to sell through existing crib inventory.
They argued that the industry, and particularly small business owners, would be hard-hit if they weren't allowed time to sell their existing inventory.
Noticeably absent from the petition was the Baby Furniture Plus Association, who argued that they took the new regulation changes very seriously and prepared for the June 28 deadline.
The CPSC said they heard from both sides.
"There is little that we know about the noncomplying cribs these retailers want to sell or about the reasons the retailers find themselves with noncompliant inventory," said Commissioner Moore in a statement. "...Moreover, we have heard from retailers who have taken steps (often at significant financial cost) to eliminate noncomplying cribs from their inventory and are anxiously awaiting June 28th so they can begin selling cribs that fully comply with the new standards. The Commission should not visit further economic harm on these retailers. They did what was expected of them and many have already suffered financially to accomplish that."
CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum's comments took a similar tone.
"While the economic losses that some retailers may suffer are unfortunate, and I have sympathy for those businesses, it was not completely unexpected that some businesses might fail to take the steps necessary to come into compliance," said Chairman Tenenbaum in a statement. "This behavior cannot be rewarded to the economic detriment of those businesses that did take these steps and will successfully meet the original deadline set by the Commission. For these reasons, I cannot support an extension of the compliance date and continue to allow sales of cribs that do not comply with the more protective mandatory standard. Such an extension would unfairly punish the most responsible business actors who prepared in advance for the compliance date and are ready to provide families with cribs that meet the strongest crib safety standards in the world on June 28, 2011."
Commissioner Adler also spoke of the unfairness that would result if an extension were provided. He said the Commission heard from a number of small retailers who expressed fear that if their competition were allowed to sell non-compliant merchandise after June 28 at a deep discount, many would be put out of business.
"What would be particularly distressing about such a turn of events is that this second group of merchants have, at no small cost, unquestionably done the right thing and, if we granted an extension of the compliance date, they would be punished in the marketplace for following the rules," Commissioner Adler said in a statement. "Although I am not without sympathy for those retailers who, for whatever reason, have ended up with noncompliant inventory, I have to balance their concerns against the Congressionally mandated retroactive application of the crib rule and the special circumstances surrounding cribs as a consumer product."
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