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Consumer advocates everywhere are cheering because the CPSC will now have a product safety database with consumer complaint reports available to the public, Reuters reports. It will allow consumers the chance to know about harmful or potentially harmful products before they get recalled.
Slated to launch on March 11, the online product safety database by the CPSC will contain reports of unsafe or potentially unsafe products by consumers, according to the Sacramento Bee. It will not contain consumer complaint reports about product reliability or quality. It will only contain reports with regards to product safety.
The easily-searchable database will be launched on the CPSC site http://www.saferproducts.gov/. Currently, all consumer complaint reports that the CPSC receives are used by the agency in order to assess the safety of products; none of these complaints were accessible to the public, SCPR reports. Consumer advocates say that the product safety database will allow consumers, healthcare providers, and government regulators to file incident reports easily. Consumers looking to make an informed decision about their purchases can quickly search the database about a specific product's safety before they purchase it.
While the main use of the database is not yet known, some consumer advocates say that they hope that it will lead to stricter safety standards for consumers. "I believe in public shaming. But I want the bureau to help consumers and to use consumer complaints, and have the ability to add them up, and calculate who are the bad guys, so they can do law enforcement," said Ed Mierzwinski of U.S. PIRG, a consumer advocacy group.
While this product safety database is not a "free for all" forum for consumers to air gripes, it still provides valuable safety information. Consumers are still welcome to vent their frustrations over product quality on third party sites such as RipOffReport.com, Complaint.com, and My3Cents.com; they are all recommended by the Consumer Federation of America.
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