Very Testing Without The Documents

, , , | Working | October 26, 2017

(I handle compliance for imports for a major retailer. We have a lot of vendors and we work with them to make sure all the required documentation and testing is in place for their merchandise. Children’s products are particularly tricky because of very strict testing guidelines that have to be met before the products come off of the boat. I’ve got a couple crates of kids’ furniture sitting on a boat that’s almost in port, and I can’t find the testing documentation. I call the manufacturer.)

Me: “I’m looking for the testing of your products, and I’m not finding it. We need this ASAP.”

Vendor: *a very friendly-sounding old man* “Why do we need all that?”

Me: “This… This is federally mandated testing. If we don’t have the documentation in place, we can’t take your products off the boat, and if they sit on the boat too long, they’ll be destroyed. And we’re not paying that bill.”

Vendor: “No, our products are fine. We’ve never had any complaints.”

Me: “Sir, that’s irrelevant. Have you not actually done the testing? That’s a pretty big problem if you haven’t.”

Vendor: “You know, my grandfather started this business in 1927. He passed it to my father in 1959, and I took over in 1995. We’re a family-owned business and active in our local community.”

Me: *deep breath* “Sir. We can’t take your products off the boat without the testing documents in place. If we don’t have them, we have to destroy them.”

Vendor: “Why would you want to do that? We’re a family-owned business with an 80-year history. You know we make the only [Product] sold at [Competing Retailer]? They didn’t even sell [Product] there before we came along.”

Me: “Are you familiar with [Congressional Act requiring testing of children’s products]?”

Vendor: “We’ve been around for 80 years. My grandfather started the business. We’ve seen a lot of legislation come and go.”

Me: “Okay, well, I’m going to go ahead and go now. You’ll be hearing from your vendor manager soon, I’m sure.”

Vendor: “Okay, that sounds fine. You have a nice day!”

(I contacted his vendor manager and explained the situation. Needless to say, his manager nearly flipped out. Don’t ask me how they did it, but less than a week later, I had the necessary testing documents from the vendor manager in my hand.)

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