Did you know there is an organization called the US Consumer Product Safety Commission? The CPSC gathers and retains and shares information on injuries and recalls regarding consumer products sold in the United States. This is a good website to review and save: www.cpsc.gov
Every year, thousands of consumer products are recalled because something about them is found to be unsafe. When a consumer is injured by a product, this can lead to a Product Liability lawsuit, in which the manufacturer and retailer can be held responsible for the dangerous product and the harm that it caused. See our other article on the subject of Product Liability.
Note that even if you own a product that is recalled, such as a child’s toy, baby’s crib, or piece of lawn equipment – it does not mean you will absolutely get your money back. Every recall announcement will state the details of that recall and how to go about getting reimbursed if possible. If you find a product to be harmful or defective, you can report it to the CPSC. This organization gets 10,000 reports a year on average from the public.
Consumers might be surprised to know that products are not tested by the government before they hit the market. Any safety or performance testing done would be done by the manufacturer or designer of the product. As you can imagine, some companies don’t test their products at all. So, when a product is unsafe or has some dangerous aspect to it, this typically isn’t discovered until consumers start using (or eating) the product.
When a product is recalled, you’ll be mailed a notice if you registered the product/sent in your information for warranty. This is why it is important to send these forms in. Otherwise, notices appear in newspapers and on various websites including cpsc.gov
There are three basic types of laws to give consumers rights if products are harmful or defective. ‘Product liability law’ pertains to injuries (even death) caused by a defective, faulty item. A claim against product performance or quality falls under ‘Warranty’ . And then there are ‘Lemon Laws’ which give a consumer rights if a product was misrepresented, falsely advertised – just fails to do what it was supposed to do.
Usually a high quantity of product reaches the market before a recall is issued or in some cases, pressure from complaints and public outcry will lead to a manufacturer recalling or pulling the product off store shelves on its own accord. Usually, defective products affect many consumers, so legal claims against those responsible become ‘class action lawsuits’. If you have any questions about a potential legal case regarding any product, contact our personal injury law firm.
When you buy items, read labels and packaging carefully before purchase and use. Always send in product registration cards. And for more pricey purchases you should check online for product complaints and recalls before spending your money.