How Do I Find Out About Product Recalls Before It’s Too Late?

It seems like product recalls become more and more common as time goes by. From food to high chairs, toys, cosmetics, or automobiles, nothing seems to be exempt. Manufacturers, whether trying to protect customers, their own reputations, complying with the law, or a combination of all of these factors, find themselves sometimes recalling relatively few products all the way up to millions of units of product. But one thing is clear – manufacturers owe a duty to consumers to provide safe products and to properly deal with dangerous defects when they learn of them, even if the product has already been sold. Failure to recall dangerous products when appropriate to do so, which leads to injury, can result in manufacturer liability. Holding manufacturers accountable for such behavior is necessary to protect all consumers.

What Is a Product Recall?

When manufacturers discover a product defect or other safety concern, they may ask for products to be returned. In some recall efforts, the product can be repaired and returned to the customer. In some instances, the product may be completely replaced with a safer product. Finally, in some instances, there is no safe alternative and the customer may be compensated for the return of the dangerous product. Some product recalls are voluntary on the part of a manufacturer. However, there are also six United States agencies that have the power to order a recall.

How Will I Know about the Product Recall?

The exact process followed for a recall varies depending on various federal and state rules, regulations, and laws. Often times, when possible, a recall notice is mailed to a customer. Sometimes, notices are published in newspapers. In some instances, consumer hotlines and websites are created. There are also helpful government websites which provide links to known product recalls.

What Should I Do in the Event of a Recall?

Product recalls should not be taken lightly. Dangerous defects can lead to injury or death. Prudence dictates complying with the recall as quickly as possible to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Famous Recall Cases

There have been numerous notable recalls in U.S. history. Here we’ll mention a few of those that drew a great deal of attention.

  • Ford Pinto – in 1978, in a very famous case, Ford recalled the Pinto due to a number of the cars exploding from rear-end collisions, due to the placement of the gas tank. Famous litigation resulted, which suggested that Ford knew about the problem, but did not correct it. At the time, it became the largest automobile recall in history. There are numerous other instances of automobiles being recalled.
  • Tylenol – in 1982 several people died after taking Tylenol products that had been laced with poison. It was determined that someone had tampered with the product after it left the manufacturer. This led to the beginnings of the tamper-proof packaging so prominent today. Johnson and Johnson has been praised for its handling of the episode, including the recall of millions of bottles of product.
  • Dell – Dell recalled more than 4 million batteries (manufactured by Sony) in 2006 after receiving reports that laptops were catching on fire.

Call with Questions

If you have questions about the law involving recalls or believe that a dangerous product has caused you harm, please contact the experienced lawyers at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield with your questions. Our lawyers are familiar with products liability law and negligence. We believe that holding liable those who unnecessarily harm our citizens is essential to protect everyone.

Helpful Links:

United States Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – Listing of recalls for motor vehicles, car seats, tires, and equipment: https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=Recall&utm_campaign=Recalls-Fall17#vehicle

Recalls.gov – website provides links to recalls for consumer products, motor vehicles, boats, food, medicine, cosmetics, and environmental products - https://www.recalls.gov/


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