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Feds Fine Store $3.9M, Didn’t Report Drawstrings

From the Washington Free Beacon:

Clothing Store Fined $3.9M by Feds Over Drawstrings

CPSC levied fine to send a ‘message’

By Elizabeth Harrington | August 26, 2013

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) wanted to send a “message” by fining a department store almost $4 million after they failed to “report immediately” to the federal government that they were selling children’s clothing with drawstrings.

Ross Stores, Inc. settled with the agency in June, agreeing to pay a $3.9 million civil penalty after they “knowingly failed to report to CPSC immediately, as required by federal law, that it sold or held for sale, about 23,000 children’s upper outerwear garments with drawstrings at the neck or waist.”

The outrage! But notice the store’s crime was selling garments with drawstrings. Because garments with drawstrings are not illegal, at least for the moment. Their crime was not reporting their sales to the Consumer Product Safety Commission ‘in a timely fashion.

The company said it settled to avoid costly litigation and denies violating a guideline to report children’s clothing with drawstrings to the CPSC, which the commission contends is hazardous. According to the commission, drawstrings have been responsible for 26 deaths.

Over how many years? How many deaths are caused by button? Zippers? Sleeves?

Children’s garments with drawstrings are not banned, but retailers can face substantial fines for not reporting the apparel to the agency.

The fine was the largest the commission has handed down in recent years for violating the policy, on top of the millions the agency has collected from big-name retailers for failing to notify the government that it had garments with drawstrings in children’s sizes in stock.

A host of major retail stores have been hit with the violation, totaling at least $9,650,000 since August 2008. That includes Burlington Coat Factory, which paid a $1.5 million fine last year, Macy’s ($750,000), Bon-Ton ($450,000), Kohl’s ($425,000), and Nordstrom ($60,000).

This sure sounds like a shakedown racket to us. What is the purpose of requiring stores to report this, anyway? What exactly does it accomplish?

The penalties are based on a 1997 voluntary guideline from the agency that recommends that children’s clothing sized 2T to 12 be made with no neck or waist drawstrings.

Additionally, a 2006 letter from the “Commission’s Director of the Office of Compliance” urges retailers to comply with the guideline, though it is not mandatory. However, retailers are required to report to the CPSC if they are selling children’s garments with drawstrings. A final 2011 rule designated clothing sized 2T to 16 with drawstrings as a “substantial product hazard."

“A manufacturer who fails to report a substantial product hazard to the commission is subject to civil penalties,” the rule stated.

Customs and Border Protection even has the authority to stop “potentially hazardous shipments of children’s outerwear with drawstrings from entering the United States,” due to the regulation…

But what if they are being worn by illegal aliens? By the way, do you think ‘hoodies’ might be dangerous? Or wearing your pants around your thighs? Or wearing shoes without shoe strings?

Why doesn’t the government crack down on those dangerous practices?

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, August 27th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

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