Posts Tagged ‘Consumer Product Safety Commission’

Will CPSC Database Cause Problems for Business?

December 17, 2010

Database of Consumer Complaints May Have Insufficient Safeguards

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is a federal agency charged with protecting the safety of consumers. However, as we’ve learned over the past year, it often does so with a misdirected dedication and zeal that causes unintended harm to small businesses. Case in point: The so-called “lead laws” that prevent the sale of ATVs and dirt bikes to kids age 12 and under.

Now, there’s another big project that could create more unintended problems for small businesses in the powersports industry— both retailers and manufacturers. It’s called the Consumer Product Safety Information Database, and it’s slated to go live in March, only about three months away.

While the majority of CPSC commissioners said the impact of the database on small businesses would be minimal, others disagree. Here’s CPSC Commissioner Nancy Nord, who voted against the final rule: “The majority makes the bald and unsupported assertion that this rule will have no impact on small business,…. This conclusion ignores examples we have in the agency of companies harmed by unfounded complaints made against products later determined not to be unsafe.”

The CPSC is nearly set to roll with this project— it recently voted 3-2 to publish the final rule in the Federal Register on Dec. 9, 2010; the rule becomes effective Jan. 10, 2011.

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Feds Investigate Chinese IPR Theft

May 7, 2010

Hearing Scheduled for June 15, 2010.
It’s an Opportunity To Tell Your Story.

Another federal agency has joined the battle on Chinese manufacturers who are selling illegal goods in the U.S. First, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) took aim at Chinese with its child safety provisions, then the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) began grabbing containers of Chinese powersports products as they entered U.S. ports looking for emissions violations.

Now the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has launched an investigation into the effects of intellectual property rights (IPR) infringement on the U.S. economy and U.S. jobs. The investigation was requested by the Senate Finance Committee.

The investigation will study violations of copyrights, patents, trademarks, and design registrations.

The ITC  will  publish its findings in two reports. The first will provide a description of the types of reported IPR infringement and China’s related policies on procurement of “indigenous innovation” which could limit the sale of U.S. products within China. This could be of special interest to U.S. companies such as Polaris and Harley-Davidson as they attempt to expand into the Chinese consumer markets.

The second report could be much more explosive. It will describe the size and scope of IPR infringement by Chinese companies and the effect of these actions on U.S. jobs and on the sales and profits of U.S. companies. In addition to Polaris, Harley and Arctic Cat, among others, these companies include U.S. operations of Japanese companies such as Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha, according to an ITC official.

Depending upon how broadly the ITC wants to define U.S. companies, it could include most powersports companies doing business here, including OEMs such as BRP, KTM, Piaggio and Triumph, as well as aftermarket companies.

The report on types of IPR infringement is due by Nov. 19, 2010, and the second— on the impact of these infringements— is due May 2, 2011.

In requesting the investigation, Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) wrote that more than 80 percent of goods seized at U.S. ports for IPR infringements came from China. He also noted that intellectual property accounts for more than 40 percent of U.S. economic growth.

As part of the investigation, the USITC will hold a public hearing  on June 15, 2010. Written comments also will be accepted. All written submissions, except for confidential business information, will be available for public inspection.

I’ve been hearing for years about how Chinese manufacturers steal designs and produce replicas of popular machines and PG&A items made by U.S.,  Japanese and other manufacturers. Now is your chance to step forward and describe how your products have been illegally copied and how you have been financially injured.

If you’re concerned about dealing with the ITC but want to tell your story, contact me. I can get your information to the ITC.

Here is important information if you wish to submit comments to the ITC:

DATES
June 1, 2010: Deadline for filing requests to appear at the public hearing.
June 3, 2010: Deadline for filing pre-hearing briefs and statements.
June 15, 2010: Public hearing.
June 22, 2010: Deadline for filing post-hearing briefs and statements.
July 9, 2010: Deadline for filing all other written submissions.
Nov. 19, 2010: First report due to the Senate Finance Committee.
May 2, 2011: Second report due to the Senate Finance Committee.

ADDRESSES
All Commission offices, including the Commission’s hearing rooms, are located in the United States International Trade Commission Building
500 E Street SW, Washington, DC.
All written submissions should be addressed to the Secretary, United States International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436.

The public record for this investigation may be viewed here.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Project Leaders: Katherine Linton (katherine.linton@usitc.gov or 202-205-3393) and Alexander Hammer (alexander.hammer@usitc.gov or 202-205-3271) or Deputy Project Leader Jeremy Wise (jeremy.wise@usitc.gov or 202-205-3190).
Analyst, John Kitzmiller (John.Kitzmiller@usitc.gov or 202-205-3387).  JD

Contact me with news tips or story ideas at
jdelmont@dealernews.com or 952/893-6876.

MIC Exec To Address Congressional Committee

April 29, 2010

Legislative Solution To Lead Ban Is Sought

Paul Vitrano, an MIC executive and the face of the motorcycle industry in battling Washington’s misguided ban of lead in toys,  plans to tell a congressional committee this morning why the ban doesn’t work and how it can be fixed.

Paul Vitrano

Vitrano, general counsel of the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), is scheduled to address the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection at 10 am ET. He’ll be talking about the need to amend the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) that became law in August 2008.

You can listen to a live audio webcast of the hearing by visiting the House Energy and Commerce Committee website: http://energycommerce.house.gov.

The CPSIA is enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and has virtually eliminated the sale of ATVs and dirt bikes designed for children under age 12. This enforcement has resulted in the unforeseen consequences of children riding adult-sized ATVs—a potentially fatal situation— as well as the needless loss of millions of dollars in business for the struggling U.S. powesports industry.

Vitrano plans to testify that the CPSC has acknowledged the ban could result in children 12 years of age and younger riding larger and faster adult-size vehicles, a known safety risk. The  CPSC’s own studies show almost 90% of youth injuries and fatalities occur on adult-size ATVs, according to the MIC.

“The real risk to children comes from banning youth models, not from the lead in certain components,” says Vitrano.

Proposed legislation that could permanently stop the ban will be discussed at the hearing. “The only permanent solution is a legislative solution,” says Vitrano.

Vitrano says he plans to “urge the committee to provide as much clarity as possible in developing a legislative solution so that the CPSC is left with no doubt about Congress’ intent to ensure the continued availability of youth model motorized recreational vehicles.” JD

Contact me with news tips and story ideas at
952/893-6876 or joe@dealernews.com.

Proposed Rules Could Severely Restrict UTV Use

March 4, 2010

We have until March 15 to comment on these
CPSC rules that could virtually ban UTVs.

Have you commented yet? If not, you should.

Here are the details.

The CPSC’s proposed mandatory standards spell out how off-road vehicles must be designed, manufactured and used by riders. Meanwhile, at the same time that the CPSC is pushing its rules, the industry has been developing its own voluntary standards.

Paul Vitrano

If you think government mandated standards will benefit our industry, then you don’t have to do anything. If, however, you think perhaps the industry can produce more effective standards, now is the time to step up and make your thoughts known.

A unit of the MIC, the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA), has created new tools for riders and dealers to easily submit comments. You can do it at http://www.rohva.org/anpr.

The sample letters urge CPSC to work with ROHVA to implement voluntary standards and to promote the safety rules for ROVs, also called SXS or UTV units. The page also contains explanations of ROHVA’s position on ROV standards and links to important documents.

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Second Co-Founder Departs Baja Motorsports

May 16, 2009

Ryan Daugherty Resigns From Leading Chinese Distributor

Handled Sales & Marketing, Product Development, Sourcing

Ryan Daugherty, one of the co-founders of Baja Motorsports, has resigned the company and is looking for other opportunities, he told me. Daugherty, Rich Godfrey and Jennifer Andrew launched Baja in 2004 and built it into a leading distributor of Chinese powersports products—including kid’s ATVs and dirt bikes— in the U.S. and Canada. Last year, Baja sold an estimated $70 million worth of products at wholesale. Its leading customers include Pep Boys, Fleet Farm and Canadian Tire.

Ryan Daugherty

Ryan Daugherty

“It’s just time for a change,” Daugherty told me. “I’ve enjoyed helping build Baja to its current strong position in the market, but I’m going to step back now for a bit and look at the powersports industry. It’s changing and I know there will be other opportunities down the road.”

Daugherty says he doesn’t have any deadline in mind for taking on a new position.

I tried to get in touch with Rich Godfrey a couple of times to see what changes he’s likely to make now that his partner is gone, but I haven’t hear from him yet. I’ll let you know what he has to say when we hook up.

Daugherty, 43, has been vice president for sales and marketing at Baja. His duties include developing new products, sourcing those products in China and marketing the products to dealers and consumers. One of his big efforts has been developing training and service materials for technicians and customers.

He also wrote Baja’s ATV Action Plan recently presented to the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission); Baja is one of only two importers of Chinese products that has had its Action Plan approve by the CPSC. An approved Action Plan is required before a foreign manufacturer can sell ATVs in the U.S. under provisions contained in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008.

With Daugherty’s departure, Godfrey remains the sole co-founder of Baja still with the company. Andrew sold her shares in 2007 and left the company when Techtronics Industries, Inc., (TTI) acquired a majority share of Baja. Daugherty sold his equity position to TTI almost two years ago.

TTI is a $3.2 billion manufacturer who’s stock is traded on the Hong Kong Exchange. It manufactures private label household goods for leading brands, and it also owns several internationally known brands, including Hoover, Dirt Devil, Milwaukee, Homelite and Ryobi. JD

Contact me with news tips and story ideas
at 952/893-6876 or joe@powersportsupdate.com.

CPSC Ban Blocks Kid’s ATV Training

May 13, 2009

The CPSC ban that prevents the sale of ATVs made for kids 12 and under is causing a number of unintended problems, not the least of which is that THERE IS VIRTUALLY NO RIDER TRAINING AVAILABLE for youths.

The Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) and the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) noted today (May 13, 2009) that trainers and machines no longer are available.

This affects individuals and groups such as the 4-H.

Here’s the problem with this: Kids can’t purchase appropriately sized machines so there is an inclination to ride larger, more powerful, machines designed for adults. And now they can’t even get rider training to help them in this dangerous situation.

The CPSC’s ban stems from the poorly-written Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) enacted last year.

Amendments to the law are needed to clarify the confusing safety issues/enforcement spelled out in the law. JD

Contact me with news tips and story ideas
at 952/893-6876 or joe@powersportsupdate.com


Nominees Add Uncertainty at CPSC

May 5, 2009
Joe Delmont

Joe Delmont

President Obama’s recent announcement that he’s going to nominate two new commissioners for the CPSC doesn’t improve the current messy situation at the agency; it only adds to the confusion.

The announcement didn’t make clear whether the president’s nominations REPLACE Nancy Nord and Thomas Moore, both of whom were named by President Bush, or whether they are ADDED to the commission. Since there are spots for five commissioners, they could be added. One more nominee would fill the slate.

By the way, a quorum is actually THREE commissioners, but the quorum requirement was waived last year when the agency’s chairman resigned. Nord was named acting chair at that time. Since there’s no quorum, we’re seeing a lot of 2-0 votes.

I visited the White House website to see the official announcement for myself, but I didn’t get any answers. I’ll try to get more information in the next few days.

Unfortunately, this new confusion factor may give the foot-draggers in Congress one more reason to delay fixing the cluttered Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a full slate of commissioners at one of our country’s most important consumer safety regulators, a group that would be headed by an active, effective commissioner who is working with an adequate budget and who is directed by appropriate and clearly-worded legislation? Is that too much to hope for? JD

Contact me with news tips and story ideas
at 952/893-6876 or joe@powersportsupdate.com

Latest CPSC Action Simply Is Not The Answer

May 5, 2009

Two-Year Stay of Enforcement Doesn’t Solve Problem

Congress Should Fix Poorly-Written CPSIA Law


joedelmont

Joe Delmont

The CPSC’s recent promise not to enforce for two years a legal ban on the sale of kid’s ATVs, dirt bikes and snowmobiles and related parts, garments and accessories just doesn’t cut it. I’m sorry, but the move is woefully inadequate.

The vote Friday by commissioners Nancy Nord and Thomas Moore is simply the latest step in this silly dance between Congress and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The awkward two-step is called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) that was passed last year.

The dreadful legislative effort bans the sale of toys designed for children ages 12 younger that fail to meet several safety standards. The lead limit is 600 parts per million in parts that are accessible to children. The ban became effective Feb. 10, 2009.

Congress says the law gives the CPSC authority to grant exclusions where appropriate— in the case of brake cables, for example. The CPSC responds by calling the law poorly written, and says it is unenforceable.

Retailers and manufacturers from many industries are caught in the middle.

Today, the situation is in a shambles. Some powersports manufacturers are selling products that have been modified or reclassified for youngsters aged (more…)

CPSC Issues Enforcement Stay

May 4, 2009

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said today that its two commissioners had voted May 1, 2009, to hold off enforcing the lead content provision of certain components in kid’s ATV, dirt bikes and snowmobiles for two years. The provisions were part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) passed last year. The ban on machines for youths 12 and younger became effective Feb. 10, 2009.

This means that the CPSC won’t enforce the ban on the sale of these machines and related parts, garments and accessories, although it’s unclear exactly what impact this action might have for powersports dealers who have not been selling the banned machines or for manufacturers that have stopped producing and selling kid’s machines. The ban still could be enforced by state attorneys general and other local officials.

Many dealers are selling kid’s machines that have been modified to meet the standard or that have been reclassified as being designed for kids aged 12 and older.

Look for more information on this site later today. JD

Contact me with news tips and story ideas
at 952/893-6876 or joe@powersportsupdate.com.

Cobra Sells Kid’s Bikes Despite CPSC Ban

March 27, 2009

Bikes Meet Lead Content Requirements
Several Steps Ensure Legally Safe Products

Sean Hilbert may be the only motorcycle executive in the U.S. who is legally selling kid’s dirt bikes and ATVs, in spite of a federal ban on many such products.

Most of the high quality racing machines produced and sold by Cobra Motorcycle Manufacturing Company of Hillsdale, Mich., meet the current requirements spelled out in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), he told me the other day. Only one of Cobra’s models is not offered for sale.

Sean Hilbert

Sean Hilbert

Well, now, that’s very interesting. How can that be, when the rest of the industry has been shut down since Feb. 10, 2009, and all other manufacturers have ordered their dealers to pull these products from the showrooms?

Sale of products designed for kids ages 12 and younger that contain more than 600 parts per million of lead content for any part of the product in the machine have been banned since February by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Yet Cobra keeps selling most of its models.

Hilbert, who is president and CEO, isn’t breaking the law, he says. It’s just that his company is working very hard to produce machines that meet the stiff lead content requirements set by the law that was signed by President Bush last August. How does he do it?

Basically, three ways. First, by presenting certifications from his suppliers that their products don’t exceed the lead limits. Second, by doing a minimal amount of its own testing. And, third, by covering items that contain excess lead levels, thus preventing access to those items. More about these steps later.

What Is Cobra Motorcycle?

Cobra has been producing high quality small displacement racing ATVs and mini bikes since 1993. It has 35 employees and operates out of a 50,000 sq. ft combination office, warehouse and production facility in Hillsdale, Mich., about 100 miles from Detroit.  The building sits on about 10 acres that includes a test track and provides room for expansion of the main facility.

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