The federal government is ramping up its internet tools for consumers who have issues and problems with products, especially defective products, and, not surprisingly, manufacturers and their trade groups are "concerned about smear campaigns and lawsuits." See report here.
In effect, and ironically, manufacturers are whining about "defects" in the consumer complaint sites being built and maintained by the government:
[I]ndustry associations have expressed concern that baseless or inaccurate complaints could taint reputations. They have also raised the specter of class-action attorneys using the safety commission database to get new lawsuit ideas.
Id. I say ironically, and laughably too, because big corporations and manufacturers are quick to point and complain about possible shortcomings or concerns (defects!) in consumer empowerment tools - the new internet tools being built by the government (both state and federal), but then take umbrage when ordinary folks (consumers who pay for their products), and their attorneys, point to the defects in their own products by way of lawsuits for damages personal injury and wrongful death.
From the website of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, we learn the following:
The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) became law on August 14, 2008. Through CPSIA, Congress gave the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) powerful new tools to protect consumers and their families. Our Commissioners, staff, and stakeholders are engaged in the implementation of CPSIA through a process we call the Consumer Product Safety Risk Management System (CPSRMS). CPSRMS will help us bring together consumer advocates, manufacturers, retailers, and the general public to create dialogue and track our progress.
CPSIA requires CPSC to create a public portal and a publicly accessible, searchable database of consumer product incident reports. Through the public portal, consumers will be able to report potential product safety hazards to CPSC in ways that improve the quality, value, and accuracy of the data collected. Manufacturers will be able to investigate and respond to product hazard reports more quickly, and to share information with both CPSC investigators and with the public through the public database. By working together, we will provide the American public with faster and more effective responses to product safety hazards. And consumers and researchers will be able to use the public portal and database to find more information about hazards in order to keep their families safe.
We are engaging the public in our efforts to implement CPSIA by holding hearings and public workshops and attending consumer and industry conferences. At our November 10, 2009 hearing, the CPSC received feedback from manufacturers, retailers, consumer advocates, and data experts. In January, 2010, we held staff workshops to engage interested parties in more detailed questions about how our searchable consumer database will function. Key participants included manufacturers, retailers, applications providers, community groups, and other groups that have a stake in the future of consumer safety.
I urge all good people to learn more about these new initiatives and to actively participate in making products we all use much safer.