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Consumer Product Safety Database’s Controversies Case Study

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Updated: Jun 16th, 2020


In March 2011, America’s Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) sought to address the need for a public product safety platform. Members of the public could access information regarding various products from this source (Laudon & Laudon 2013). Consequently, CPSC launched an online database, www.saferproducts.gov. From the website, the public can access data and opinions regarding the safety of a given consumer product. In addition, the users can submit their complaints directly into the database where all the information is located. Other users can read these complaints, including rating of products.

CPSC gathers information from such parties as consumers, healthcare providers, and lobby groups. It also gets data from media accounts and death certificates (Laudon & Laudon 2013). Consequently, CPSC is able to come up with decisions regarding whether to ban or initiate product recalls. The consumer product safety database faced immense opposition from sections of the legislators and major product manufacturers (Laudon & Laudon 2013). The argument behind the opposition was that the database could be used maliciously against the manufacturers. For instance, individuals could submit inaccurate information about a given product. On their part, lawyers could use the misleading accounts to settle scores with companies.

In this paper, the author is going to analyse the case study of the consumer safety website. A summary of the case study will be provided. In addition, the author will look at the value of the database, the controversy surrounding its launch, and entities affiliated to the website. In addition, the author will give their opinion on whether or not they will use the database to purchase a crib for their child.

Summary of the Case

The case study focuses on the need to come up with a consumer product safety database. The website was proposed and launched by Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in 2011 (Laudon & Laudon 2013). The database was a response to the growing need for consumers to have information regarding the safety of products accessed by members of the public.

Michelle Witte is depicted as one of the numerous parents who lost their children due to faulty products. The product in this case was in relation to a defective design in the previously popular drop-side cribs (Laudon & Laudon 2013). Witte was among the consumers advocating for a source of information or database providing members of the public with information touching on product safety. Apparently, Witte argues that if she had access to public information regarding the unsafe conditions of the drop-side cribs, then the death of her child could have been averted.

The Value of the Consumer Product Safety Database to Consumers, Businesses, and the U.S. Government

The house energy and commerce committee is considering putting in place legislations to regulate the use of the database and avert cases of its misuse for malicious intentions. For instance, the proposed legislations would regulate the submission of information on the database by consumers and other users. In addition, it will provide solutions on how to resolve claims reported in a misleading fashion (Laudon & Laudon 2013).

The CPSC database provides immense value to the society stakeholders, especially the consumers, government, and businesses. For instance, the database is useful to the consumers since it provides them with a platform whereby they can review the safety rating or evaluation of a product before purchasing (Callon 2006). On the other hand, the database is important to businesses since it provides them with an opportune avenue to raise the profile of their products. For instance, if a product does not have any negative safety reviews in the page, then the quality profile of the business is regarded highly by consumers in the market (Callon 2006).

The CPSC database will even allow for communication between consumer and the producer. Consequently, producers will be able to know what customers need and, they will be able to meet their desire by producing quality products and services. In relation to government, CPSC database provides with an avenue through which the government will more efficiently regulate safety of products provided to the public. In addition, the database will make it easier for the authorities to apprehend businesses producing unsafe products (Callon 2006).

Problems Raised by the Database, Reasons Why it is Controversial, and an Analysis of Data Quality Issues

Various problems are raised by this platform. They include, among others, the authenticity and accuracy of the information provided. In relation to the products, the problems raised entail the safety associated with their use (Callon 2006). A number of controversies ‘swirl’ around the CPSC database. The issues are brought about by the sensitivity and significance of the information disclosed through the website. Most of them touch on the legitimacy of the claims made by users interacting with the site. According to McNurlin, Sprague, and Bui (2008), information can be used either positively to build a business, or negatively to ruin it. With regards to CPSC, the controversy revolves around issues raised by business owners and some legislators who believe that some consumers may submit false information on the safety of given products. Manufacturing companies and other members of the Congress argue that some users can submit fake complaints (McNurlin et al. 2008). The situation raises the issue data quality in the resource. Some businesses are worried that unscrupulous lawyers may use information from the database against them. As such, the controversy ‘whirling’ around the database spans across all the stakeholders.

CPSC’s Database Entities and their Attributes

One of the main entities in the CPSC database is the product (Laudon & Laudon 2013). It is noted that the products are the major elements in the website. The reason for this is the significant role assumed by these products in the market. The activities of the entire database revolve around the product. Some of the attributes of the product entity include description, contact information, and manufacturer (Turban et al. 2007). The harm or risk likely to be brought about by the product is also a major attribute of this entity.

The other main entity of the CPSC database is the visitor or the consumer (Laudon & Laudon 2013). Visitor attributes include name, which is optional, complaints or product reviews, and comments about given consumer goods and services.

Opinions Regarding the CPSC Database

The CPSC database provides the consumer with an opportune channel through which to confidently evaluate the safety of given products based on provided reviews or comments. The author of the paper recommends the use of the platform among modern day consumers. The reason behind this is the level of regulation with regards to the authenticity of the information found in the database (Laudon & Laudon 2013). As a result, the author will consider using the facility to evaluate the safety of purchasing a crib.


The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website is a useful tool as far as decision making in the market is concerned. It helps users to determine the safety of a product before purchasing it. However, the database is plagued by a number of controversies. For example, some manufacturers argue that it may be used by unscrupulous parties to ruin the reputation of their brands. In spite of all these challenges, the database remains a critical tool in decision making.


Callon, J 2006, Competitive advantage through information technology, 6th edn, McGraw Hill/Irwin, Red Lion, PA, U.S.A.

Laudon, K & Laudon, J 2013, Management information systems: managing the digital firm, Pearson Education Limited, New Jersey, U.S.A.

McNurlin, B, Sprague, R & Bui, T 2008, Information systems management in practice, 8th edn, Prentice Hall, New Jersey, USA.

Turban, F, Leidner, D, McLean, E, & Wetherbe, J. 2007, Information technology for management: transforming organisations in the digital economy, 6th edn, John Wiley & Sons, New York.

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1. IvyPanda. "Consumer Product Safety Database's Controversies." June 16, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/consumer-product-safety-databases-controversies/.


IvyPanda. "Consumer Product Safety Database's Controversies." June 16, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/consumer-product-safety-databases-controversies/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Consumer Product Safety Database's Controversies." June 16, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/consumer-product-safety-databases-controversies/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Consumer Product Safety Database's Controversies'. 16 June.

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