By  on September 16, 2009

WASHINGTON — Kohl’s Corp. agreed to pay a $425,000 fine for selling children’s hooded sweatshirts with drawstrings, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said.

The CPSC alleged that Kohl’s violated consumer product safety laws by knowingly failing to report it sold the sweatshirts. The retailer agreed to pay the settlement but denied the allegations, according to the commission.

Drawstring guidelines for apparel issued by the CPSC are designed to help prevent strangulation of children. Since 2006, the CPSC has regarded children’s jackets, sweaters and other outerwear with drawstrings as defective and posing a substantial risk to children. Under federal law, retailers are required to report to the commission within 24 hours if they receive information that a product is defective.

Kohl’s paid a $35,000 civil penalty for failing to report children’s drawstrings in sweatshirts last year.

“Kohl’s has longstanding policies that require our vendors to deliver merchandise that complies with existing laws and regulations, including those of the Consumer Product Safety Commission,” said a Kohl’s spokeswoman. “In February 2009, upon learning we carried a children’s hooded sweatshirt with drawstrings, we immediately removed the inventory from our stores and Web site and issued a recall of the product. Kohl’s is not aware of any incidents or injuries relating to this product.”

Separately, three other firms agreed to pay a combined $185,000 for selling children’s hooded sweatshirts with drawstrings. Maran Inc. of North Bergen, N.J., and K.S. Trading Corp. of Moonachie, N.J., paid a combined $85,000 in penalties for failing to report they sold the hooded sweatshirts and jackets with drawstrings. Hill Sportswear Inc. of Paramount, Calif., paid a $100,000 penalty for selling the sweatshirts. Despite the settlements, all three firms denied the allegations.

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