Video: BuckyBalls Maker Fights CPSC Lawsuit
The manufacturer of a popular desk toy is fighting back against an administrative complaint filed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Maxfield & Oberton, the New York-based company that produces Buckyballs and Buckycubes magnetic products, has launched a video campaign to responding to the CPSC's accusations that their products are unsafe and should be pulled from stores.
The CPSC filed its first stop-sale request in over a decade on July 25 for the high-powered magnetic products, claiming that the items can cause potentially fatal injuries when ingested by children and citing multiple incidents involving children ages 3 to 12. The commission's filing requests that Maxfield & Oberton stop selling Buckyballs and Buckycubes and offer full refunds to consumers.
On Friday, the manufacturer initiated its "Save Our Balls" video campaign, hoping to both educate the public about the company's safety initiatives and what it considers to be the commission's overreaction. "The CPSC's action is unfair and unjustified," said Craig Zucker, founder and CEO of Maxfield & Oberton. "We are proud of the company we have built, the product itself, our safety program and our safety messaging, including our website, www.magnetsafety.com, our warnings—five in total—on the packaging and instructions, and in stores that sell our products."
Although the company has responded to the CPSC's lawsuit with a tongue-in-cheek tone, it is taking the claims seriously. The pun-filled "Save Our Balls" video notes that the number of incidents reported involving Buckyballs products is less than two dozen over four years, and that the company has complied with all federal regulations, including not marketing the rare earth magnets to children under 14 years of age.
The company has also pointed out what it feels are hypocritical actions by the CPSC. Balloons have resulted in multiple deaths due to choking and suffocation, but are permitted as long as the packaging includes warning labels stating "Adult Supervision Required." The commission simultaneously claims such labels do not work when discussing the magnetic products. "Maxfield contends that by claiming
that warnings never work, CPSC calls into question its enforcement of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, which requires warning labels on among other things, adult products that are corrosive or toxic and that may cause substantial personal injury or illness due to reasonably foreseeable handling or ingestion by children," the company said in a statement.
"It is hard to understand why CPSC is trying to pry our balls from the hands of adult users, effectively putting us out of business," Zucker added. "We have launched this video in the hope that consumers will speak up and tell the CPSC that these adult-marketed, adult-focused products, when used correctly are perfectly safe."
Watch the "Save Our Balls" video below.
Related story: CPSC Sues Buckyballs, Seeks Ban and Refunds for Products