Safe Online ShoppingCPSC's Operation SOS
As a result of the explosive growth in electronic commerce, the CPSC established an Internet surveillance project - Operation Safe On-Line Shopping (Operation SOS). The goal of this project is to find potentially hazardous, recalled, illegal or defective consumer products being sold on the World Wide Web. This activity is an expansion of the kind of retail surveillance work we already do in brick and mortar stores across the country and in monitoring catalog sales.
CPSC staff members pose as consumers while surfing various retail/auction sites, manufacturer sites, news groups, and other sites that may provide leads to hazardous consumer products. We do this to make sure we are having the same experiences that a consumer would have while using the internet. When staff identifies a product that may be hazardous, they use non-government credit cards that were issued in pseudonyms to purchase the same products consumers would receive and have them delivered to an address that cannot be identified as the Commission. CPSC staff has identified and followed-up on a variety of dangerous and/or violative products being sold on-line, including: toys and rattles, flammable children's sleepwear, prescription drugs without child-resistant packaging, children's jackets with drawstrings, baby hammocks, and cigarette lighters without child-resistant safety mechanisms.
As Operation SOS has progressed, staff has found that it offers additional opportunities to strengthen the Commission's compliance program. Thus, as staff conducts surveillance, they also identify domestic and international manufacturers and retailers that are selling products similar to those the staff has already found violate mandatory safety standards or pose substantial product hazards. Staff also orders catalogues over the Internet to view various companies' complete product lines and they purchase product samples to evaluate compliance with standards. In addition, staff provides e-guidance about CPSC rules to small new firms that they find on the Web.
Information about potentially hazardous consumer products being sold on the internet can be provided to the SOS staff by contacting CPSC Compliance staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or by sending information to: SOS, Office of Compliance, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, DC 20207 or Fax to SOS at: 301-504-0359.
It's very kind of them to give a number for us to turn others in. Don't you think?