How to (Mis)use SaferProducts.gov
It should be noted that it is illegal for SaferProducts.gov to publish reports submitted anonymously on the site, so that is one safeguard against competitors maliciously sending inaccurate information. However, that in no way prevents the site from publishing non-anonymous false claims if the manufacturer doesn't respond within 10 days. As for what happens if a company does respond in the appropriate time, I'll leave it to the site's FAQ section to answer that:
"Will filing a claim of material inaccuracy prevent publication of that information in the Database?
No. The CPSC cannot withhold publishing a Report beyond the 10-business-day deadline unless a determination has been made that it contains materially inaccurate information. In that circumstance, the CPSC may briefly withhold the Report in order to resolve the inaccuracy."
Even if a manufacturer is able to respond in time, if the CPSC cannot review the information and verify that the original report was inaccurate within that same 10-day span, it will be published. How much damage do you think can be done to a company's reputation if an inaccurate report is published for even one day?
This isn't merely a manufacturer issue. As the the site says, "The CPSIA requires the CPSC to send reports of harm (Reports) to manufacturers, which includes importers, and private labelers identified in a Report." That wording cuts a pretty broad swath, affecting large segments of our industry. If you think this could affect your business, educate yourself by reading the FAQs on the site, particularly the Accuracy FAQ, to see what your rights are and how you can protect yourself. You can also contact your state's senators, who have yet to vote on the budget funding the site, and tell them what you think.
It will be two weeks before reports submitted today are published on the site, and only then will we get an idea of how well the CPSC is vetting claims. Check back here soon, as I'll be writing more on this topic as the site grows and we see what affect it is having on suppliers and distributors.