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Drawstring dilemma costs Bon-Ton $450,000

WASHINGTON — An issue related to drawstrings has resulted in Bon-Ton agreeing to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $450,000.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission alleges that the fashion retailer knowingly failed to report to the commission that its children's hooded jackets and sweatshirts were sold with drawstrings through the hood. The penalty agreement has been provisionally accepted by the commission in a 3-0 vote.

Children's upper outerwear with drawstrings, including jackets and sweatshirts, pose a strangulation hazard to children. CPSC and three U.S. importers announced recalls of children's jackets and sweatshirts with drawstrings through the hood on February 18, March 10 and May 27, 2010. Bon-Ton was a retailer of about 800 total jackets and sweatshirts in all three recalls.

Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors and retailers to report to CPSC within 24 hours after obtaining information reasonably supporting the conclusion that a product contains a defect that could create a substantial product hazard, creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death or fails to comply with any consumer product safety rule or any other rule, regulation, standard or ban enforced by CPSC. Federal law also bars selling products that have been subject to a voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the commission.

In agreeing to the settlement, Bon-Ton denies CPSC staff allegations that it knowingly violated the law.

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