Maxfield and Oberton Statement on Recent CPSC Action to Put Company Out of Business
NEW YORK, July 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Maxfield and Oberton received an administrative complaint issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in order to force them to cease selling high-powered magnets to adults.
Maxfield is the manufacturer and distributor of Buckyballs® and Buckycubes™, the number one selling brand name in high-powered magnets – recently called America's "fave desk accessory" by the Washington Post (July 13, 2012), and named "the next big thing in cubicle fidgeting" by New York magazine (July 16-23, 2012).
Before filing the lawsuit and giving Maxfield and Oberton the opportunity to defend itself and its products, CPSC systematically began contacting its retailers giving them 48 hours to tell the government that they would stop selling Buckyballs® and Buckycubes™. Some retailers capitulated to this so-called voluntary request for fear of retribution if they did not acquiesce.
"Obviously the bureaucrats see danger everywhere, and those responsible people – like our company who have vigorously promoted safety and appropriate use of our products – gets put out of business by an unfair and arbitrary process," said Craig Zucker, Founder and CEO of Maxfield and Oberton "I don't understand how and why they did this without following their own rules before allowing us to make our case. It almost seems like they simply wanted to put our products and industry out of business."
Finally, CPSC is giving Maxfield an opportunity to defend its products but only after ruining its retailer base through intimidation tactics.
"We are deeply disappointed that the CPSC has decided to go after our firm - and magnets in general. Magnets have been around for centuries and are used for all sorts of purposes. Our products are marketed to those 14 and above and out of over half a billion magnets in the market place CPSC has received reports of less than two-dozen cases of misuse. We worked with the Commission in order to do an education video less than 9 months ago, so we are shocked they are taking this action. We find it unfair, unjust and un-American," added Zucker. "We will vigorously fight this action taken by President Obama's hand picked agency."
Maxfield believes the CPSC is now taking the absurd position that warnings can never work. By doing so, CPSC has called into question the efficacy of all of the warnings the agency relies upon including its recently announced program to warn about the risk of strangulation posed by cords on baby monitors, cords that have been involved in 7 deaths.
What will CPSC do about drowning for which its remedy is warnings?
For balloons involved in several deaths each year, the Commission warns about the risk of suffocation from uninflated or broken balloons and says "Adult supervision required." But for some reason when it comes to an American company that sells Buckyballs® exclusively to adults, the CPSC takes a different approach and decides that warnings don't work. The Company believes the CPSC can't have it both ways.
Maxfield contends that by claiming that warnings never work, CPSC calls into question its enforcement of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act which requires warning labels on among other things, adult products that are corrosive or toxic and that may cause substantial personal injury or illness due to reasonably foreseeable handling or ingestion by children.
Maxfield's customers love their products and Buckyballs has grown into a well-known brand in only a few years. Like a lot of products, they are not marketed or intended to be used by children. The company markets them exclusively to grown-ups and teenagers (14+), developed its safety program in cooperation with CPSC with responsible marketing steps and appropriate warnings to keep them out of children's hands.
You can't miss the clear warning label to keep them away from kids on 5 different places on each box, and in accompanying instructions. A public awareness campaign about magnet safety with videos distributed by the government and a special web site (www.magnetsafety.com) was launched several months ago, with the full cooperation of the CPSC.
"As a small business owner I'm left wondering what to tell my employees and their families. How can this happen in America?" said Zucker.
CONTACT: Andrew Frank 212-935-4539
SOURCE Maxfield and Oberton
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