Commercial privacy protection and competition law have long been jointly regulated by a single authority – the FTC – in the US. Though managed separately, both types of law have at their heart a desire to protect consumers. Antitrust law tries to ensure that consumers’ ability to choose between products is not restricted by anti-competitive acts. In the US, commercial privacy is protected through consumer protection law, which tries to ensure that consumers’ ability to choose between products is not restricted by misleading information. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 28 pages].
The Consumer Product Safety Act: A Legal Analysis. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. David H. Carpenter. April 24, 2018
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC or Commission) was established in 1972 by the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) “to protect the public against unreasonable risks of injury associated with consumer products.” The CPSC is empowered to meet this objective through a blend of consumer monitoring, research, investigations, safety standard-setting, and enforcement powers. The Commission’s jurisdiction under the CPSA is largely governed by the definition of “consumer product,” which is broad in scope, although a number of products that generally are regulated by other federal agencies are explicitly carved out of the definition. The term includes products that are manufactured domestically, as well as hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of consumer products that are manufactured outside of the U.S. and imported into the country each year. It encompasses over approximately 10,000 types of products from baby strollers, cribs, and bath seats, to cigarette lighters and matchbooks, to lawn mowers, garage door openers, and television antennas, to name a few. The CPSC estimates that covered consumer products play a role in over $1 trillion of costs to the country annually in the form of deaths, illnesses, injuries, and property damage.
[PDF format, 25 pages].
Does Better Information Lead to Better Choices? Evidence from Energy-Efficiency Labels. National Bureau of Economic Research. Lucas W. Davis and Gilbert E. Metcalf. Web posted January 14, 2015.
The ubiquitous yellow “EnergyGuide” label, which is required by law on all major appliances sold in the United States, is less effective than state-specific labels in encouraging consumers to make energy-conserving choices, according to the research. They conclude that ratings based on average national usage and energy prices are too coarse to help consumers make choices that are suited to their local conditions. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 54 pages, 876 KB].