Product Detained by CPSC at a Port? CPSC Has Issued FAQs

Since the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) began issuing its own import detention notices in June, some companies have struggled to obtain the release of detained products, particularly to determine the process the CPSC would follow and minimize the detention period. The CPSC has now issued frequently asked questions (“FAQs”) to help companies navigate the process. Historically, Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) had issued notices for potential CPSC violations, so CPSC hopes to eliminate CBP as the middleman.

CPSC will send a detention notice to the importer of record, broker, and CBP, typically by e-mail. If CBP has also detained the product, those issues will be resolved first. CPSC will only detain products described in the notice, so the importer or broker should contact CBP to obtain the release of other products in the shipment. Conditional release or exportation of products is also possible on a case-by-case basis. Detention notices are not subject to protest, but companies will have five days to submit information supporting admissibility of the product and can request an administrative hearing. CPSC will try to make admissibility decisions within 30 days of detention.

Given these new procedures, importers of consumer products should be in close contact with their brokers and respond quickly to detention notices. Companies may also take a proactive approach by working with the CPSC compliance officer at CPSC headquarters to facilitate communications with the CPSC representative at the relevant port.