Saturday, October 25, 2008
Just today, a victim told us she asked a Carters store manager if she knew about the tagless safety issue and yesterday's advisory and statements from CPSC and Carters. The manager of Carters retail store had no idea! Carters: you have a duty to effectively communicate to your distributors and especially your own stores. You can not stop with this advisory. Communicate effectively and comprehensively, be compassionate and fair with your victims, and recall your products.
Science for Sale:
As consumers and parents, these public statements and advisory did nothing to placate us. We believe our baby, like many others, was affected beyond just the Carters tagless Fall 2007 product line. We were initially told by Carters Consumer Affairs representative that there are "no chemicals" in these tagless clothes. Give us a break! Our baby suffered a chemical burn, which was confirmed by her pediatrician. Carters, it's time for the reality check: begin the Recall.
Friday, October 24, 2008
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Today a letter arrived at our home via Federal Express from Carters’ CEO, Michael Casey. It was handwritten and on the Carters’ CEO letterhead. Here is the content of the note: 10-23-08
Dear Mr. (our last name),
I received your email yesterday. I am very sorry to hear that your daughter developed a rash while wearing a Carter’s garment.
As a father of six children, I care deeply about the safety & health of children.
I want to assure you that we are thoroughly investing (sic) the cause of the rash.
I am committed to regaining your trust in our products. I hope you’ll give us that opportunity.
/ s /
This letter was sent via FedEx, and the footnote on the letterhead reads:
Michael C. Casey Chief Executive Officer
Telephone 404-745-2802 Fax 404-892-3079
Email firstname.lastname@example.org NYSE Listed: CRI
Here is my response, sent via email tonight:
Here is my response, sent via email tonight:
Dear Mr. Casey,
Thank you for your letter. First, our baby Ava did not develop a rash. She was chemically burned by the Carters clothes she wore. Our pediatrician confirmed she suffered a chemical burn and not a rash. Secondly, a Carters tagless product recall and public disclosure is the only solution, which you failed to address in your letter. You are a father of six children, how many more families and babies are you willing to sacrifice?
Lastly, you cannot regain our or the public’s trust in your Carters brand until you act appropriately. We will not stop our relentless pursuit to publicize this issue until you and Carters take immediate and appropriate actions. Your products injured our baby and many others. The statistical rate of reported injuries should be an irrelevant factor in you and your company’s decision to disclose this hazard and recall your product. Do the right thing.
/ s /
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Naively we misread her awkwardness and assumed Carters wanted to address this issue after they publicly announced their earnings. Today Carters publicly announced their earnings…guess what? Carters did NOT publicly address the product safety concern of their tagless clothing and did NOT update their website with any related information. Why the corporate secret, Carters? Why not take today’s opportunity to provide this important information to your consumers and shareholders?
Alas, we have exhausted the reserves of giving Carters the benefit of the doubt to do the “right thing.” We are back to where we started: with our baby who suffered five months from chemical burns caused by Carters tagless clothes and without any ongoing dialog with Carters on how they plan to fix this problem for all consumers. Carters did not respond to my note to their Executive Staff. We have not heard anything from them. How does this company decide not to respond to a consumer plea regarding a child safety issue? It is inexplicable. Does anyone have a theory?
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
We cannot believe how long Carters has allowed this to go on without any public disclosures. Carters is literally making money off the backs of our babies. You're corrrect, Fellow Mom-Blogger, there is a "tipping point" and we are seriously considering ALL of our options at this point. Carters has been derelict in telling their consumers the truth.
We'll see how they respond to our letter, if at all.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
To: Michael Casey, Chief Executive Officer
Re: Carters Tagless Clothes Causing Chemical Burns in Babies
CC: Joseph Pacifico, President; James Petty, President Retail Stores; Charles Whetzel, Executive Vice President and Chief Sourcing Officer; David Brown, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer; Suzanne Calkins, Executive Vice President OshKosh Brand and Licensing; Joe Elles, Executive Vice President Sales and Mass Merchandising; Eric Martin, Vice President Investor Relations
Dear Mr. Casey,
I am writing you as a final, desperate attempt to escalate a material issue to someone with authority at Carters. Let me first explain the issue and then I will appeal to your authority to resolve our problem and to publicly disclose the product safety hazard with your tagless product line.
Our daughter, Ava, is now six and a half months old. Since Ava was six weeks old, she has been suffering a chronic back injury caused by wearing Carters tagless products. Her injury was a severe chemical burn, which formed at the epicenter of where her skin made contact with Carters tagless labels. The injury caused severe inflammation and swelling, in Ava’s case, it was the size of a half pear. The burn was bright red throughout and weeps of mucus and puss. Ava has endured this excruciating pain of a fire red, weeping burn on her back for about five months.
When we first saw this burn, we thought it was an unusually nasty rash. We treated it topically with ointments, it did not go away. We eliminated detergents, changed beddings, and when our pediatrician thought it might be a chemical reaction to her infant carrier, we bought a new one--all to no avail. Then one day, the burn got worse and Ava was clearly in unbearable pain. We immediately took her to the pediatrician. The doctors in the practice saw Ava’s wound and agreed she should immediately be admitted to the children’s hospital emergency. Ava caught a staph infection from her open wound. As you may know, staph can be life threatening, especially to an infant; Ava was barely 3 months. She had to be in a strict sterile environment (medical masks, gloves and gowns were required by all who entered who room) and we waited for IV Antibiotics to mitigate further health risks. Ava and my wife were in the hospital overnight. We were alarmed by doctors who all claimed the issue to be very severe but none of whom could diagnose it. We were all horrified and traumatized by this, wondering if our daughter would recover. Ava was on antibiotics for at least a month, the burn subsided but never healed and continued to painfully affect her.
In our ongoing efforts to help Ava recover and monitor her wound, we cut out the upper backs of some of her clothes to apply her prescribed creams and to let the affected area air dry more efficiently. The burn would begin to heal and after a few days we would put Ava back into her uncut clothes. Immediately, the burn reappeared. We repeated this cycle many times, still unaware this wound was being caused by her Carters tagless clothing. Ava went to the emergency children’s hospital again. We continued our efforts to treat the burn, nothing worked.
Last month we read an internet blog written by other victims of Carters tagless clothes and everything became clear to us. We read their stories and saw their pictures--all were remarkably similar to our experience and Ava’s condition.
We had Ava in your tagless clothes all along. The irony is we always used your tagless clothes because we thought there might a chance physical tags would compound Ava’s condition. She has been in Carters clothes, gets the original burn, stays in your clothes and the burn gets worse, heals when we cut out your tagless marks, then the burn reappears immediately after we put her back in Carters uncut tagless products. We continued this cycle until last month’s discovery because we had no idea Carters tagless clothing was causing her wound.
We shared our internet discovery with our pediatrician. Our pediatrician confirms the injury as a chemical burn and is filing a report with the Consumer Products Safety Commission. He has also notified the pediatric community of
We contacted Carters to see if you had any information beyond the statement published by the ZRecommends blog. We talked with Sue in Consumer Affairs who had nothing new to offer. Sue offered us a product refund. We were sloughed off to Travelers to file a claim. Travelers did not know anything about Ava’s injury and offered their claims process as a resolution; hand over all medical records and receipts, subject ourselves to the mercy of Travelers claims processing, and hope for a resolution many months from now. We then talked to Mary, Manager of Consumer Affairs, who tried to console us. Mary either does not have the authority or is prohibited by policy from actually helping your victims. All in all, we made great efforts and in good faith have tried to resolve this with your company.
Your company’s response and attitude is miserable. I am furious. Your product injured my baby. My baby suffered severely for many months and in fact faced a life threatening complication. I am certain that you would not like a severe burn on your back for five months, along with many hospital and doctor visits, many treatments, and helpless doctors. Additionally, if this happened to one of your loved ones, you too would be furious if you discovered the injury was caused by your defective merchandise. To top it off, your company is not recognizing the issue beyond a content-free statement posted on a blog. Nowhere in your public website does it offer a statement assisting or warning the consumer on the hazards of your tagless baby clothes. You are ignoring the gravity of this problem and mistreating your victims. Your service policies are abhorrent. Your safety people are probably telling you that Carters does not have a problem or statistically a case like ours is “isolated” and “rare” (using the words we have heard from Carters). Read the internet and you will see that your internal product safety people are possibly very wrong.
If I were you, I would not take the risk of this problem staying statistically isolated. And, independent of the actual number of cases versus the number of tagless clothes you have sold, our case matters and the cases of all the other victims matter. Yet, you don’t seem to think so. You are unwilling to publicly discuss the risks of your clothes. What happened to standing by your website’s statement of Carters making “trusted products” when Carters cannot be trusted to inform their consumers of their defective merchandise? You are unable to diagnose the problem which means Carters has not prioritized the research of this safety issue. The lack of disclosure is causing serious harm to babies as consumers are uniformed and pediatricians do not know how to diagnose and cure the injuries caused by your clothes. You have not told your distributors as they surely would not sell clothes that cause chemical burns. You have not told your consumers, leaving the burden on them to discover the answers. Your company’s actions have been atrocious and immoral.
I will be relentless in my pursuit to publicize this safety issue and Carters immoral response. I am blogging now, I am writing every consumer safety organization I can find, I am writing every investigative news organization I can find, I will write your largest public shareholders and distributors, and I will pursue every possible legal way to expose this issue. I will not stop until you act appropriately.
I am hoping you will make a statement on Tuesday, after you announce earnings and as soon as you are out of your quiet period. I would like to see an honest and transparent statement on this public safety issue, immediate disclosure to the pediatric community, shareholder disclosure, and a press release that is picked up by publications your consumers read, a recall of your product, a hotline for all victims, and a compassionate and easy process that your victims can follow for refunds and medical treatment reimbursement.
If not, I will continue my vigilant pursuit.
Hoping you actually do care about your consumers,
However, there will be No Recall, no satisfactory resolution, but here is what Mary states is being proposed at least for Carters Consumer Affairs Dept.
1. Mary had a group meeting with all of Carters Consumer Affairs Representatives and all agreed to “welcome” victims and to be more compassionate
2. Make sure staffing levels are sufficient to promptly return calls within 24 hours
3. Working with the phone company and their internal IT department to create a dedicated 800 number hotline for tagless clothing victims
4. Improve reimbursement process and promptly pay reimbursement checks
5. Redesigned insurance claims process
6. Website page dedicated to this tagless clothes problem
We remain unsatisfied because there is no promise of a recall or informing the public of the hazards for children wearing their tagless clothes. We are planning to write a letter to their CEO and Executive Staff and will post it once it's completed.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Carters - now is the time to finally recogize this problem. This is not an "isolated" or "rare" incident as your scripted response alleges and as you have told us numerous times.
Carters, perhaps you should consider the ethical approach, such as:
- start with apologizing, a mea culpa will mean a lot to your victims
- disclose the problem to the pediatric community, your distributors, and your consumers
- create a welcome wagon for your victims, treat them compassionately and fairly, be their advocates instead of making them advocate for themselves (haven't parents and babies endured enough?)
- promptly refund the full retail value of the defective clothes purchased by your victims
- recall all your defective products immediately
- update your website
- stop the internal product safety denial and fix the problem
- basically, do the morally correct thing
"Our hands are tied"
"I don't have the authority"
"Our CEO is aware of the problem"
"We don't have any answers for you"
"We are researching the problem"
"You need to understand"
"You can work with me or have an attorney work with me, it is the same job for me"
"Honestly, if I could do something for you, I would"
"I am a parent, I can not imagine what you went through"
"I understand, I understand, I understand" when it is obvious they don't understand.
Here are two links that helped us determine the cause of Ava's back wound:
Last night we spoke to the producer of this NBC investigative piece on Carters tagless clothing, please view the piece to see another family victimized by Carters:
To help get the word out, please file a report with the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), here is a link to file a complaint online:
Our Pediatrician confirms this was a chemical burn and not some other skin irritation or allergic reaction (rash or eczema). He is filing his own report with the CPSC.
I will keep everyone posted on Carters next response.
By the way, if you want to listen to Carters next quarterly earnings call (yes, they are a PUBLIC COMPANY), go to the link below next Tuesday: