Millions of products are recalled regularly in the U.S.A. alone, with manufacturers offering generous refunds or settling for mind-boggling amounts with injured customers if the issues reach the nation’s courtrooms. Some product recalls only make a dent in profits, while others can turn into full-blown PR disasters. So, why do companies keep recalling products given the risks?
What Are Product Recalls?
A product recall is a manufacturer’s decision to take an unsafe product off the market because there is reasonable concern that the product might harm users, pose other safety concerns, or come with efficiency issues. Recalls happen when the manufacturer, consumers, or authorities learn about the safety issue after production.
Manufacturers can recall a single or several batches of a product or the entire production, depending on how big the safety issue is. The most common reasons products get recalled include:
- There are hidden design flaws that might harm users.
- Products are defective straight from the factory (no design flaw involved).
- There are no warning labels or other safeguards, which makes the product unsafe.
- Instructions are unclear or incorrect, which can harm users.
- Allergens are discovered post-production, and they are not listed on the label.
- The product is contaminated, which can make users sick.
- The product contains foreign objects such as needles, metal, or glass fragments.
There are two types of product recalls:
- Voluntary product recalls: The recall is the decision of the manufacturer following consumer feedback, regulatory feedback, or product surveillance results. A manufacturer might recall a product without feedback if the product has been recalled in other countries.
- Compulsory product recalls: The recall is not the decision of the manufacturer. A business will recall a product because a federal or state agency has ordered it to do so.
Why Are Product Recalls Important?
For consumers, product recalls are very important because unsafe products that can harm or kill them are pulled from the market. In a recall, manufacturers seek not only to remove the potential harm but also to lower the risk of injury or harm associated with a defective product. That is why a recall is often accompanied by:
- Retrieval of the defective product
- Repairs or upgrades to the defective product
- Notification of consumers about the flaw and additional instructions.
During high-profile recalls, customers will be notified about the dangers and the need for the product to be repaired or upgraded.
When the recalled product doesn’t have a design flaw or defect, consumers will get a refund or a replacement if the product fails to match the performance standards previously advertised. As a result, a recall further benefits consumers because they are not stuck with an underperforming product they have spent their hard-earned cash on.
For a company, a product recall is an opportunity to boost their image in the eyes of potential consumers if it manages to come off as a responsible company that genuinely cares about end-users. A well-managed product recall can bring more loyal customers onboard and boost the brand’s presence. But that’s a double-edged sword as a poorly coordinated product recall campaign can quickly turn into a PR disaster that can taint a company’s reputation for decades to come.
I Bought a Recalled Product: What’s Next?
When companies warn consumers that their products are not safe and should be recalled, you need to contact company representatives and ask for a repair, replacement, or refund. The company’s contact info should be printed on the so-called product recall notices consumers sometimes get.
You can check out www.Recalls.gov for that contact info and other recall information about a specific product if you received no such notice. If the product has caused you, your children, or your pet serious harm, you can sue the manufacturer for damages. Your odds of winning multiply considerably if there is already a class-action lawsuit, so you no longer have to prove a link between your injuries and the product’s flaw.