Most Amazon sellers I have dealt with over the last thirteen years contact me to fix an issue with a test report, rejection of a certificate, or supporting documentation or to identify regulations needed to develop and launch a new product. When I ask them if they have a compliance program, they only admit to having what Amazon requires to list their product, and only a few are interested in learning more. I am amazed that with the money they pay for search optimization, consultants, listing upgrades, etc., they are not interested in investing in a program that ensures that they maintain and protect their business and want to keep growing. Today more than ever, with factories selling against them in the same marketplace, sellers need to show “Due Care” to protect themselves against false claims and, more importantly, selling non-compliant products.
A robust consumer product safety compliance program is essential for Amazon sellers due to several reasons:
Legal Requirements: Compliance with consumer product safety regulations is mandatory for Amazon and major retailers. These regulations protect consumers from unsafe products that can cause harm or injury. By implementing a compliance program, Amazon sellers can ensure that their products meet all applicable safety standards and regulations, reducing the risk of legal penalties, fines, or even product recalls.
Customer Trust and Reputation: Maintaining customer trust is crucial for any business, including Amazon sellers. By prioritizing consumer product safety, sellers demonstrate their commitment to providing safe and reliable products. This builds customer trust and helps establish a positive reputation, leading to repeat purchases and positive reviews.
Risk Mitigation: Implementing a comprehensive compliance program helps sellers identify and mitigate potential risks associated with their products. By conducting thorough product testing, quality control checks, and risk assessments, sellers can identify and address any safety concerns before their products reach consumers. This proactive approach minimizes the risk of accidents, injuries, or negative incidents associated with product safety. While very important, very few sellers implement more than the minimum required to get their product listed.
Liability Reduction: A well-implemented compliance program can help mitigate potential liability for Amazon sellers if a product-related incident occurs. By having processes to demonstrate due diligence, such as keeping records of safety testing, certifications, and compliance documentation, sellers can better defend themselves against legal claims, and requests from the CPSC, or retailers and show that they have taken necessary precautions during the development and manufacture of their products.
Marketplace Requirements: Amazon has policies and guidelines that sellers must adhere to. Each new marketplace you enter may require or impose additional strict requirements related to product safety, quality, and compliance. Failing to meet these requirements can result in penalties, listing suspensions, or account suspensions. With a compliance program, sellers can ensure that they meet Amazon’s standards and, more importantly, regulatory requirements to avoid negative consequences.
Global Market Access: Many Amazon sellers operate in international marketplaces, which may have unique product safety regulations. Implementing a compliance program enables sellers to navigate the complexities of different regulatory frameworks and expand their business globally. It helps ensure that products meet the safety requirements of various countries, allowing sellers to access a broader customer base without facing regulatory barriers.
A consumer product safety compliance program is crucial for Amazon sellers to fulfill legal obligations, maintain customer trust, mitigate risks, reduce liability, comply with marketplace requirements, and access global markets. By prioritizing product safety, sellers can protect their customers, brand reputation, and business interests.
A consumer product safety compliance program typically consists of several key elements:
1. Appointment of a compliance manager to handle all compliance-related items and serve as a go-to person for escalating any quality or safety issues.
2. Regulatory Knowledge: Stay informed about the applicable consumer product safety regulations and standards in the regions where you sell your products. This includes understanding the specific requirements for labeling, packaging, product materials, testing, certification, and reporting.
3. Risk Assessment: Conduct a thorough risk assessment of your products to identify potential hazards, assess their severity, and determine the likelihood of occurrence. This involves considering factors such as product design, manufacturing processes, materials used, and potential consumer misuse or abuse.
4. Product Testing and Certification: Ensure your products undergo appropriate testing by CPSC-accredited laboratories to verify compliance with safety standards and regulations. This may include testing for physical safety, electrical safety, chemical content, flammability, and other relevant parameters. Obtain necessary certifications or marks to demonstrate compliance.
5. Supplier Due Diligence: Implement a process to evaluate and select reliable suppliers prioritizing product safety. Verify that your suppliers adhere to quality management systems and comply with applicable safety regulations. Maintain clear communication with suppliers to address any safety concerns promptly. If you want to sell to major retailers, this step is critical.
6. Quality Control Processes: Establish robust quality control procedures to monitor your products’ manufacturing, packaging, and labeling. Regularly conduct inspections to ensure that products meet safety and quality standards and that any identified issues are addressed promptly. Tailor your inspection protocols to your product, not to the category, making sure you look for items previously brought up in reviews or customer feedback.
7. Incident Reporting and Response: Implement a system to track and report any incidents or safety concerns related to your products. Develop a protocol and intake form for addressing customer complaints, conducting investigations, implementing corrective actions, and escalating issues when necessary.
8. Documentation and Record Keeping with Comply PRO+ Maintain thorough documentation related to product safety, including test reports, certifications, compliance documentation, supplier agreements, audits, certificates, and any relevant correspondence. Keep accurate records of product testing, Batch tracking, inspections, and other compliance-related activities.
9. Training and Awareness: Provide comprehensive training to your employees and suppliers regarding product safety requirements, best practices, and the importance of compliance. Foster a culture of safety awareness throughout your organization.
10. Continuous Improvement: Regularly review and update your compliance program to adapt to evolving regulations and industry best practices. Stay updated on product safety alerts, recalls, and emerging safety issues to proactively address potential risks. Use your quality program data to identify and fix issues identified during production and reported in bad reviews to upgrade your product over time.
11. Compliance Audits: Conduct periodic internal audits to assess the effectiveness of your compliance program. Identify any gaps or areas for improvement and take corrective actions as needed.
By incorporating all of the elements listed above into a consumer product safety compliance program using the Comply PRO+ framework, Amazon sellers can establish a robust program to sell globally, ensure the safety and compliance of their products, protect consumers, mitigate potential risks, and protect their brands.
Contact us today for a demo so we can show you how easy it is to protect your brand you worked so hard to build!
The CPSC is committed to continuously improving its import surveillance process so that it may help reduce unreasonable risk of injuries and deaths associated with consumer products and help the agency maintain its standing as a leader in consumer product safety in an ever-expanding global marketplace.
In support of continuous improvement, the Office of Import Surveillance (EXIS) has begun the phased implementation of electronic filing (eFiling) of Certificates of Compliance (see graphic below) to modernize the way import data are processed. This allows importers of regulated consumer products to easily store and eFile certain certificate data via CPSC’s Partner Government Agency (PGA) Message Set.
Benefits of the CPSC eFiling system include:
- Fewer holds for compliant importers
- Reduction in risk score for demonstrated compliance with CPSC’s requirements
- Potentially shorter review periods
- Increased CPSC focus on higher risk products
The CPSC understands the trade industry’s key role in helping develop a successful eFiling system. As such, a Beta Pilot effort will launch in the fall of 2023 to test IT systems. This pilot will include up to 50 volunteer participants who will be asked to provide feedback to inform the system design and final rulemaking for the full implementation of the eFiling system.
This public-private partnership is essential to the successful implementation of eFiling. We have exceeded our minimum threshold of 30 participants, but there is opportunity for more importers to participate in CPSC’s pilot.
The CPSC will continue to communicate regularly through future newsletters, fact sheets, and other information that will be available via their eFiling website (www.cpsc.gov/efiling), social media channels (@USCPSC), and their mailing list.
What is the IT-DAG?
The Information Technology-Data Advisory Group (IT-DAG) is an industry working group established to advise on the development of systems and processes for CPSC’s eFiling implementation. The IT-DAG kicked off in December 2022 and has made great progress in reviewing and providing valuable input to the CBP and Trade Automated Interface Requirements (CATAIR) and IT system requirements. Below is a summary of IT-DAG activities and results over the past several months:
- Since December 2022, the IT-DAG has held six meetings where they reviewed and discussed the draft Beta Pilot CATAIR, the PGA Message Set, and the Product Registry.
- CPSC has highlighted system business rules and demonstrated functionality that supports entry and management of certificate data in the Product Registry database.
- Participants have been instrumental in providing valuable feedback to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the system design and functionality.
- The draft CATAIR has been updated, posted on www.cpsc.gov/efiling, and shared with IT-DAG participants as they begin their internal IT integration process, which will enable the electronic transmission of certificate data into the PGA Message Set.
- The IT-DAG will continue to meet and review Product Registry functionality. The public is welcome to attend IT-DAG meetings as a non-member in listen-only mode or preview meeting summaries on the docket.
For more information about the eFiling program, go to CPSC eFiling Website
Jacoby Solutions has been part of the IT-DAG team and will be part of the eFile beta via COMPLY PRO+
From CE Marking.net
Good news for companies exporting CE marked products to the United Kingdom. Today, the UK regulator has extended the foreseen deadline for the replacement of the CE marking for the UKCA marking with one more year until the 1st January 2023. This means that exporters that sell into the UK have one more year to sell their CE marked products, and to change their product labels.
This measure has been taken to grant the industry additional time to make the transition. The extension applies provided that the UK and EU product requirements are the same. The rule also includes products which have been assessed by an EU recognised notified body. Those companies that already want to affix the UKCA marking are free to do so, provided of course that their products comply with the applicable UK regulations.
We continue to continue to monitor the regulatory developments in the UK and in the EU.
Details: UK Government Website
January 4, 2022
All Baby & Child | ABC Kids Expo has partnered with Jacoby Solutions – Seller Proof of Compliance for a FREE Webinar series on Seller P.O.C. The goal is to help Trade Show exhibitors understand how to build out their compliance program with Seller Proof Of Compliance to have all the necessary elements to show Proof of Compliance to Amazon, major retailers, and regulatory bodies in markets where they currently sell or hope to sell in 2022! REGISTER HERE: https://bit.ly/3HEDCWk
To ensure exhibitors have a successful Expo, ABC Kids Expo has partnered with Jacoby Solutions to help them prepare for the 2022 Show so that you have all the compliance requirements in place to show Proof of Compliance so you can expedite the onboarding process into new sales channels.
As product sellers expand into new markets and sales channels, they are confronted with new standards, regulations, and retailer requirements that may require new compliance processes. An effective compliance program improves your product’s quality and safety, broadens your product’s market, ensures compliance with regulations and laws, and can also help provide protection from future product liability issues.
By attending the Seller P.O.C. Trade Show Sales Ready webinar you will be able to:
- Realize that proof of compliance is more than a test report and a CPC.
- Understand how a formal compliance program adds value to your company brand.
- Know the major elements of a consumer product safety compliance program
- Conduct a compliance census for your company so you know where you stand and can identify areas in need of improvement.
- Develop corrective action plan to Be Trade Show Sales Ready ASAP, so you can align upcoming production to meet major retailer requirements.
- Adapt your documents to be one size for proof to all.
We also will provide a state of compliance enforcement update so you:
- Prepare for the new aggressive enforcement stance of the CPSC at the ports.
- Understand the Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 Market Surveillance law that went into effect July 16, 2021.
- Know about Authorized Representative requirement for the EU and UK
- Can plan for implementation of the UKCA mark on your products that goes into effect Jan 1, 2023.
Covid has disrupted the supply chain for everyone, everywhere. How do you know that the products you tested 8 months ago are still compliant with the current shipment? If you are planning to expand to new channels at the ABC Kids Expo, you need to plan now so your upcoming production meets the requirements of your targeted sales channels.
ABC Kids Expo will Offer a Series of Webinars ahead of the show with topics such as: “Preparing for Day 1 as a first-time exhibitor.”-“Selling in the EU and UK, Understanding CE / UK CA Marking and new harmonized enforcement law.” “Selling on Amazon / Instituting a Quality Program to ensure great reviews”. and ” How to use technology for better Customer Service and Warranty” Support
About Jacoby Solutions
Complete Compliance with an Eye on Business Transformation!
Jacoby Solutions is a brand protection consulting practice specializing in helping companies achieve operational readiness for ongoing CPSIA and CPSC required compliance via improved process and systems. A one-stop shop for manufacturing, distributors, and Amazon sellers in need of a partner who can help them evolve their business while keeping an eye on compliance, Jacoby Solutions saves companies time and resources by helping them develop compliance related standard operating procedures in all areas from manufacturing and distribution to supply chain management and customer service.
Jacoby Solutions is a CPSC approved Product Safety Coordinator and since 2011, we have been helping companies with CPSIA, implementing compliance programs, and implementing technology to help companies centralize their compliance activities and reduce their risk.
We are getting ready to start another year, and it looks like it will be at least another year until we can again travel to our factories and suppliers. On top of that, the CPSC has gone into aggressive enforcement mode, so how can you be sure that you have the right policies and procedures in place to protect your brand and reduce your risk of importing a non-compliant product?
The supply chain shortages you have heard about are real, so how can you be sure that the product you tested eight months ago is the same as the one on the shipment you are expecting for delivery before Chinese New Year? A material change is your most significant threat to the compliance of your products, so here are a few things you can do to lessen your risk with upcoming shipments.
- Implement a supplier guide to outline your requirements that address everything from packaging, labeling, product testing, and material change.
- Implement language into your Purchase Orders related to the compliance of your products. Get the factory to agree that it will be liable for your company’s economic loss that results from its failure to comply with its product safety obligations.
- Implement a material change policy with forms to document any material changes, so your factory can notify you of any changes that might affect the certification of your products, as new testing may be warranted if new raw materials or components are used.
- Perform pre-shipment checks using a third-party inspection company so you can verify both the quality and compliance of your products. Tracking labels for children’s products and incorrect Children’s Product Certificates are low-hanging fruit for the CPSC, so make sure these are in order.
- Do an unannounced factory inspection and test for lead or phthalates to ensure that your products comply. Be mindful of who selects the product sample to be tested, as it must be a representative sample of the product you are introducing into commerce.
Your factories and suppliers are your business partners, so you need to set the right expectations and hold them accountable for manufacturing excellent quality and compliant products. Never prepay for goods before delivery. If possible, the best practice is to place a deposit to start production and the next payment upon your product clearing customs, so they know they have your best interests in mind!
With the new year fast approaching, now is the time to implement these changes and others to update this and any part of your compliance program for the way you currently do business, as it seems like the next few months will be more of the same as Covid does not seem to be going away soon.
WASHINGTON, D.C. –Firms are required to report to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) potentially hazardous products that they manufacture, distribute, import or sell. To encourage more online reporting of these potential hazards, CPSC will require firms to use a new, upgraded online reporting system for Fast Track recalls.
“Our goal is to protect consumers, by identifying and removing hazardous products from the marketplace more quickly, and by streamlining the recall process,” said CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric. “We are extremely proud of the hard work that CPSC staff put into creating this new tool to facilitate online reporting.”
CPSC’s Fast Track program helps consumers by removing hazardous products from the marketplace quickly, and it rewards businesses that act swiftly to implement corrective action.
The updated Section 15(b) reporting system for companies, now available at www.saferproducts.gov/business, has a user-friendly interface that includes hover-over features and guidance for firms to navigate the submission process. Firms using the new site will also receive an emailed copy of all information submitted to CPSC through the system, along with emailed case updates, deadline reminders and contact information for the CPSC staff handling their report.
This system is also mobile-friendly, so users can now submit reports and provide attachments via their smart phones or tablets. Businesses that participate in the Fast Track program will also be able to review and approve a system-generated draft recall press release before submitting their report, to help expedite the overall recall process.
Effective January 31, 2022, businesses that want to participate in the Fast Track program will be required to submit their Section 15(b) reports exclusively online through the portal. Reports received via email, fax, or mail for participation in a Fast Track recall will be rejected after this date, and the firms will be directed to resubmit their reports via the online system.
Although many of the new system features, and its mandatory use, apply specifically to Fast Track recalls, non-Fast Track filers are strongly encouraged to use the updated online system, as well. Users can easily file an initial report and can submit additional information and documents, if desired, using the system.
Visit the Fast Track information page to see how the new system can benefit companies considering a recall.
The new online business portal for the Fast Track Program can be found at www.saferproducts.gov/business