Story highlights

Consumer Protection Safety Commission released Top 10 product consumer complaint categories

Top 5: Electric ranges/ovens, dishwashers, footwear, refrigerators and microwave ovens

The CPSC says public website complaints about a harmful product or risk have led to recalls


Got a problem with your dishwasher? Does your oven not work? Is the toy you bought defective? Well, you’re not alone, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The CPSC has released a summary of its Top 10 product categories which consumers have most often complained about online in the past year.

Since last March, the top five most frequently reported product types are electric ranges/ovens, dishwashers, footwear, refrigerators and microwave ovens. Appliances accounted for one out of every three complaints.

“We are looking for patterns,” said Patty Davis, CPSC spokesperson. “Random complaints, taken together, help us piece together the puzzle. It enables us to act more quickly to get dangerous, defective products off the market,” Davis said.

The CPSC says public website complaints about a harmful product or risk have led to recalls. The safety commission announced a voluntary recall last year involving the Disney Princess Plastic Racing Trikes after children reportedly were hurt. About 9,000 trikes were sold in the U.S. and 700 in Canada. “The plastic castle display and the princess figures protruding from the top of the handlebar pose a laceration hazard if a child falls on it,” said the CPSC in a news release.

In December 2011, consumers were urged to stop using a specific ice cream dipper after the distributor, The Pampered Chef, based in Illinois, received reports of personal injuries including lacerations, bruises and redness caused by caps coming off the base of the handle. A voluntary recall was issued for about 20,000 dippers.

The CPSC says it has received from consumers and manufacturers an average of 600 reports each month at or about 7,000 incidents since the publicly available website began a year ago.

Nursery equipment tallied more than 8% of the online complaints, with toys and shoes each receiving 4.5%.

Consumers can use the online tool to look for safety information about products they own or may be thinking about buying as well as read reports that others have submitted along with comments from manufacturers.

“This product incident website … is empowering those who use it,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum in a statement marking National Consumer Protection Week.

The bottom five Top-10 categories on the list are complaints about heating and air conditioning units, indoor lighting, cookware, laundry and a tie for bedroom bedding, furniture and grills.

The Commission points out on its website it does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the contents of, “particularly with respect to information submitted by people outside CPSC.”