Mattel Battles US Over Recalls

Company keeps consumer commission in the dark
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2007 4:07 AM CDT

(Newser) – Toymaker Mattel has clashed with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission over the timely reporting of the defects that led to massive toy recalls last month. Mattel spent months conducting its own investigation of defects in a number of products, including 18 million playsets which contained dangerous magnets, before informing the commission, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The law requires companies to report potentially hazardous defects in 24 hours;  Mattel CEO Robert Eckert argues that the timetable is unreasonable. Companies are required to report any defect that could cause a hazard, a "standard that might apply to almost anything," says Eckert. "It's very easy for anyone to apply the word 'could' backward." Mattel has been fined twice before for withholding information.