Another one bites the dust: Office Depot’s $3.4M Compliance Mistake

Read about Office Depot agreeing to pay 34 million dollars in civil penalties. 

“Office Depot sold about 150,000 Quantum chairs nationwide between May 2006 and August 2009, for about $350 each, and about 1.4 million Gibson chairs nationwide between 2003 and 2012, for about $40 each.

In addition to paying the $3.4 million civil penalty, Office Depot has agreed that the company has, and shall maintain, a compliance program designed to ensure compliance with the Consumer Product Safety Act and a related system of internal controls and procedures.  The compliance program must include written standards and policies designed to convey information obtained from sources such as complaints, parts requests, and incident reports to personnel responsible for CPSC compliance.  The compliance program also must address:

  • confidential employee reporting of compliance concerns to a senior manager;
  • effective communication of compliance policies and procedures, including training;
  • senior management responsibility for, and general board oversight of, compliance; and
  • requirements for record retention.”

As with the Black & Decker case, the penalties are severe, the fix is simple – keep track of customer complaints, and when in doubt, report, report, report!

A best in class compliance program scrubs product safety complaints from all over the web – from your website, from Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Facebook, Blogger, Twitter, Amazon – Google Crawler can help you set this up, or I can help with the setup. However it’s done, keeping track of customer complaints is step 1, then there is the corrective action and reporting process. As can be clearly seen, the penalties for noncompliance can be severe.

About the Author
Rachel Johnson Greer is a global business strategist who specializes in helping entrepreneurs increase their internet product sales, curate their brand image online and avoid catastrophic legal threats. After getting her MBA in international business at Seattle University, she spent nearly a decade at Amazon working in product development. Since then, Rachel has founded companies that reached both multi-six figure and multi-seven figure growth in under three years.

As a business coach, she supports clients in everything from international product expansion to 4x-ing their sales through online retailers. Rachel is frequently sought out by the media and has appeared on the Today Show, CNBC, Business Insider, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. When she’s not working with clients, she’s scaring friends at parties with stories about the most problematic online products she’s found in their homes. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

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