WASHINGTON – The company behind TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods has agreed to pay $13 million to settle charges that they sold products from 21 recalls, including those recalled due to the risk of infant death.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that The TJX Companies, Inc. agreed to pay the civil penalty for selling and distributing the previously recalled items, WXIN reports.
In total, TJX had sold, distributed, or offered approximately 1,200 units of recalled products, the CSPC said.
For more than five years, TJX knowingly sold, offered for sale, and distributed dangerous recalled products through its website and its retail stores. These sales were illegal and put hazardous products into the hands and homes of unsuspecting consumers. Hundreds of inclined sleepers that pose a suffocation risk to infants as well as a wide range of other products that present choking hazards, laceration hazards and fire risks were sold after their recall date, in violation of federal law.Alexander Hoehn-Saric, CSPC Chair
The products were sold at TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods locations, as well as online. Most of these items had been recalled “due to the risk of infant suffocation and death,” the CPSC said.
Other recalled products included a portable speaker model that posed an explosion hazard, hoverboards linked to 16 reports of burn injuries and knives that broke and caused multiple lacerations requiring stitches.
TJX acknowledged the sale of these items in November 2019 in a joint news release with the CPSC. At the time, TJX said it had become aware of the sale of 19 different products that had been recalled between 2014 and 2019. The company later reported finding additional recalled products for sale during that time.
Alexander Hoehn-Saric, chair of the CPSC, said the $13 million penalty is “near the statutory maximum” that the CPSC agency would have been able to ask for in court. Still, Hoehn-Saric worried the fine would not be enough to deter other companies from avoiding similar mistakes.
“With the market capitalization of the largest retailers calculated in the billions, a penalty of $13 million or even $100 million could easily become a cost of doing businesses,” wrote Hoehn-Saric in a statement issued Tuesday. “In order to best protect the public, I urge Congress to remove or dramatically increase the existing limits on CPSC’s civil penalty authority.”
As part of the settlement, TJX will also be maintaining a compliance program to make sure the company follows the proper protocol for recalled items, and file annual reports regarding the compliance program for the next five years.