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Sometimes, bureaucracy can make a simple good idea more complicated than it should be. Two years ago, the Consumer Products Safety Commission started a very useful website designed to serve as an information source on dangerous products. A website where you could go find out which products had been recalled, but also read consumer-submitted safety complaints about products that had not been recalled. The website has been up and running since March 2011. The website is called www.saferproducts.gov .
Now, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) has conducted a major study, interviewing consumers and compiling and analyzing data to determine how the website has fared in its first two years. They published a 49-page report, full of charts and statistics to illustrate their findings. We will summarize the findings here. Consumers told the interviewers that, for the most part, they had never heard of this website for finding out about (or reporting) dangerous products. Next, once consumers were shown the website they overwhelmingly agreed that it was a useful resource and they found it helpful. Finally, the GAO interviewers were puzzled to hear that most of the interviewees found the website name misleading, and expected it to be a website about safe products. The government’s report noted that “several consumers commented that the website would be more aptly named unsafeproducts.gov”. Ahh, the wisdom of the crowd.
If you are interested in avoiding dangerous products, comparison shopping for strollers that won’t pose choking hazards or glass cookware that won’t explode, we recommend that you visit www.saferproducts.gov . Another useful resource is www.consumerreports.org . If you have been injured by a defective product, contact Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter for a free consultation with our experienced personal injury attorneys, or visit us online at www.thefloridafirm.com .