I just found out about this... Will I have to recall and pay fines?

I just found out about this... Will I have to recall and pay fines?

I just found out about all of this... stuff. Am I really in for it now?

Will I have to recall? Pay fines?

Will my family be able to come out of this huge mistake of an idea without harm???


These are a few of the things I have seen people say when just learning about product safety compliance and the first thing I say is:


Take a slow deep breath in, and a slow deep breath out.

Now, we are ready to start learning, yes?

I want to make this exceptionally clear to you:

You now know better and I will help you do better.


The agencies that have the ability to fine you know that you are trying too, so they are willing to work with you before resorting to fines.

Seriously. Fines are for the guys trying to cut corners, trying to get around anything they possibly can, trying to squeeze by with not doing something until they are caught. -- And the agencies hate that.

I was there where you are right now. Am I going to jail? I'm going to be put in a concrete room with a bed pan!

So trust me when I say I get how you are feeling right now.


Here are your next steps after breathing.

1. How will your product be used?
Really consider your product and how it is going to be used, both in your intention and how it could possibly be used otherwise.

  • Will your product be used by children?
  • Is your product something that you might intend for adults, but may be appealing to children and adults will let the children have it?
  • Is there a potential of misuse in general?
  • Is the care and storage of your product clear?

2. What kind of components are you using?
We're considering more quality as well as potential chemical hazards here.

  • What's the material? Fabric, plastic, metal, etc?
  • s there a component that could break off and, if yes, is it smaller than a quarter (coin)?
  • Do you trust your suppliers of those components? Like if there was a concern or a question, you'd be able to contact them and get a response and you would trust that response.

3. How is the product made?
Are there any parts that your gut says is questionable and you hope noone ever has to contact you about it? (Do I really sew those buttons on tight? Is that string, like, way long?) Is there anything about the product that could break?

4. Who *exactly* is the product for?
Be honest with yourself and your product and take a quick look at [this article]. Once you have your age grading, then come back.


Okay, so you have considered your product in terms of components, finished use, and who is actually going to use it.


But what about what you've already sold?

This is where we take our answers to the above and decide if we need to contact the CPSC and/or our buyers.

If your product has a legitimate safety concern -- one that could and would cause harm to the user, it must be reported to the CPSC and your buyers immediately. That is, yes, you will conduct a 'consumer level' recall (this is a CPSC favorite by the way).

Your recall plan may be to:

  • refund the customer in full (including shipping) after proof of disposal (or shipping back with a prepaid shipping label)
  • offer a store credit for the return of the product (send them a pre-paid shipping label)
  • an exchange for a safer version (send them a pre-paid shipping label)
  • a repair to make the existing product safer (send them a pre-paid shipping label)

If your product has an error in paperwork, that is labeling or similar, simply fix future creations. "Easy-peasy, mac & cheesy" as my daughter would say. I would also send your buyers the updated information if it warrants it (like maybe care information or specific warnings).

If your product doesn't necessarily pose a safety risk, but you don't have the right testing or testing information in your records, it is time to get that caught up before selling any more. If you receive your testing back and it is a fail, look at why it failed and determine if you need to do a recall.

If your product is fine, but the customer is not who you initially intended, either adjust your marketing, treat your product as if it was always for the other customer, or consider a completely new product.


It doesn't have to be a big to-do.

It really is as easy as being honest with yourself and your product.

If your find there is an error, adjust as soon as possible. If the error is something that can cause harm, try to get that back quicker than ASAP, then adjust.

You don't have to throw everything away, you don't have to immediately recall everything, and, no, you won't likely have any fines at all because, now that you know better:

You Are Doing The Right Thing.

(and for that, you are awesome. Look at you go! Big pat on the back!)



 As Levar Burton would say: Don't just take my word for it:


    More help made just for you:


    The Makers Resource runs on coffee -- err-- support from you!

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