Last week the CPSC’s Office of Small Business Ombudsman unveiled a new tool to help businesses marketing new consumer products navigate the complex CPSC regulatory landscape. This useful new tool is called the Regulatory Robot.
The program asks small businesses making new products a series of guided interview questions, and, based on the answers, produces a downloadable report with links to product safety regulations that apply to the product. The report also provides important information on labeling, certification, and testing requirements.
While small businesses should find this resource especially useful, all businesses should check it out since the agency’s rules have become increasingly complex, especially in the last six or seven years. However, as the terms and conditions of the program make very clear, users cannot rely on the accuracy of the Regulatory Robot and are cautioned to seek counsel on how and which regulations apply to specific products.
The Regulatory Robot is a good effort to help businesses try to comply with the confusing and overly-complex regulations that the agency has issued in the last few years. A better effort, however, would be to simplify the underlying regulations. That is what Congress asked the agency to do in 2011. So far, the agency has worked hard to avoid doing what Congress asked.