By Colleen Kave, J.D.
Home Depot U.S.A., Inc. will pay a civil penalty of $5.7 million to settle charges that the company knowingly sold recalled consumer products in violation of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA). The agreement, which was provisionally accepted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on August 24, 2017, by a vote of 4-1, was entered into for purposes of settlement only and did not constitute an admission by Home Depot or a determination by the CPSC that the company knowingly violated the CPSA (In the Matter of Home Depot U.S.A., CPSC Docket No.: 17-C0005, August 10, 2017; CPSC Notice, 82 FR 41002, August 29, 2016).
According to CPSC staff allegations, between August 2012 and November 2016, Home Depot knowingly sold, offered for sale, and distributed in commerce recalled consumer products in violation of Section 19(a)(2)(B) of the CPSA, 15 U.S.C. 2068(a)(2)(B). Over the course of those 4 years, Home Depot sold or distributed at least 2,816 units of 33 different recalled products. Among the recalled products were: HeathCo Motion-Activated Outdoor Lights; Soleil Portable Heaters; Kidde Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarms; Gree Dehumidifiers; RSI Bathroom Medicine Cabinets; Homelite Blower Vacuums; Husky Vertical Bike Hooks; Mohawk Home Rugs; and Vornado Air Electric Space Heaters. The hazards posed by the recalled products included, but were not limited to, fire hazards, laceration hazards, and electrocution and shock hazards.
In addition to the civil penalty, the settlement agreement requires Home Depot to maintain a compliance program designed to ensure compliance with the CPSA with respect to any consumer product imported, manufactured, distributed or sold by the firm. The compliance program must include the following:
- written standards, policies, and procedures designed to ensure compliance with CPSA statutes and regulations;
- procedures to ensure that relevant information is conveyed effectively to appropriate personnel responsible for CPSA compliance;
- mechanisms to communicate to all applicable Home Depot employees through training programs or otherwise, company policies and procedures to prevent violations of CPSA § 19;
- a program for the appropriate disposition of recalled goods;
- management oversight of that program, including a mechanism for confidential employee reporting of compliance-related questions or concerns to either a compliance officer or to another senior manager with authority to act as necessary;
- senior management responsibility for, and general board oversight of, CPSA compliance;
- retention of all CPSA compliance-related records for at least five (5) years; and
- availability of such records to staff upon reasonable request.
Any interested person may ask the Commission not to accept this agreement or otherwise comment on its contents by filing a written request by September 13, 2017.
Companies: Home Depot U.S.A., Inc.
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