Our letter to Elliot Kaye, Chairman CPSC

by

November 21, 2014

Elliot Kaye
Chairman
Consumer Product Safety Commission
4330 East West Hwy
Bethesda, MD 20814

Dear Chairman Kaye:

I saw your ABC interview, and let me say first that we agree 100% on the product recall process; it’s broken, and it absolutely must be fixed.

You rightly lamented to ABC that for a typical recall, 95% of the recalled items are still in the hands of consumers 5 years after the recall notice. ABC noted in its report that hundreds of new recalls, involving many millions of products, are required each year. These figures are utterly shocking.

Imagine our dismay when you and ABC “came out shooting” at craigslist. Last we knew from your representatives, earlier this year, we were taking all appropriate steps to reduce the number of free classified ads for recall items by craigslist users.

Contrary to an assertion you made on ABC, we do not earn any revenue from these free classifieds, and it seems you may have been misinformed as to both our business model and what is involved in moderating free user classified, as opposed to the online retailers to whom you compared us.

I invite you to sit down with me here in San Francisco, to discuss how craigslist can further assist the CPSC in addressing product recalls. I will clear my calendar and make support staff available for meeting with you and relevant CPSC staffers. Since you, personally, have been the one leading the criticism, I trust you agree it will be time well spent for you as CPSC chairman, and I as craigslist CEO, to meet in person.

As added incentive for you to make the trip to the Bay Area (although I imagine you are out here regularly in any event), we also have some practical ideas for curtailing the hundreds of times each year you are left trying to “unring the bell” after millions of faulty products have already been sold to consumers.

Finally, Craig Newmark has been the victim of completely undeserved criticism by you and ABC, despite our informing ABC – weeks BEFORE they ambushed him – that he has not been involved with managing craigslist for over a decade and is not a spokesperson for the business he founded. This is commonplace at Internet companies. Craig is a dedicated philanthropist, and was unjustly defamed by “Recall Roulette.”

I look forward to meeting you.

Sincerely,

Jim Buckmaster
CEO, craigslist
jim@craigslist.org

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