Feb 29, 2024

Breaking Down Common Household Recalls

Breaking Down Common Household Recalls - Household products

You’re scrolling on your phone when you suddenly get a notification of a new report calling for users or owners of certain products to act quickly, as their safety may be at risk due to the latest recall. This kind of scenario may sound familiar, as many companies have been issuing recalls left and right. However, as a consumer, you may be asking yourself what the real point of a recall is and if you need to adhere to its guidelines. Below, we’re breaking down what a recall really is, the significance behind the messaging, and what you should do in the event you receive an alert.

What Is a Recall?

Starting with the basics, let’s break down what exactly a product recall is. In the event you have purchased a common household product, like a coffee maker or microwave, you may receive a letter in the mail explaining your product has been included in a recall, but what exactly does this mean? Well, a product recall is a formal request issued by the product manufacturer, asking you, the consumer, to return a product after discovering safety issues or product defects that might endanger your life. 

Product recalls also serve as a way for the makers or sellers of the recalled product to avoid or minimize the risk of legal action taken against them. Some of the most common types of recalled household products include the following:

Appliances: Common household appliances include televisions, stoves, refrigerators, clothes dryers, hair dryers, microwaves, and power tools.

Medical Products: Contaminated over-the-counter or prescription drugs or medical devices such as wheelchairs, medical beds, respirators, or thermometers

Children’s Products: Toys, car seats, cribs, rocking chairs, baby bottles, or clothes.

Vehicles are also considered a common household product and most commonly involve recalls for certain part defects, which include faulty airbags, brakes, tires, or malfunctioning ignition switches. 

Why Do Products Get Recalled?

As mentioned, in most cases, when a product is recalled, it has to do with the safety risks surrounding a consumer using it. However, typically, the risk involved with the item has a cause, most commonly due to issues with product design, manufacturing, or marketing. In these cases, the manufacturer or any other party involved in the product’s distribution chain could potentially be held responsible for any resulting damages, which would result in a product liability lawsuit.

  • Design: If the product was designed poorly and, when in use, is unreasonably dangerous. 
  • Manufacturing: If the product’s design was safe, but a defect or error occurred during manufacturing.
  • Marketing: When the product’s instructions are inadequate to help consumers avoid injury, or it does not come equipped with proper warning labels.


How You Can Identify if Your Product Is Recalled

When it comes to figuring out if your product has been recalled, there may be a few different avenues you have to navigate. The first and most common way to discover a product recall is through the company or manufacturer themselves. If a safety issue has been reported and an investigation has been launched into the issue, the company will verify and confirm the recall. 

Once confirmed, the company can voluntarily register the recall with certain government agencies, including The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission(CPSC), The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA), or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Once registered, the company will send out a notice to all known customers via letters, emails, phone calls, and, in some cases, door-to-door representatives.

In the event you do not receive a notice from the company but have heard of a recall, you can confirm if your product is included by heading to their website. Often, companies will have direct links to their recall page that will delve further into the issues with the product and break down step by step what you should look out for in order to identify if your product is affected. Typically, if a product has been recalled, companies will tell you to look for the following information:

  • Product name
  • Product type
  • Model number
  • Model Year

If you are still unable to determine if your product is under the recalled items list, contact the company’s customer service hotline and connect with one of their representatives to learn more about the recall and how you can identify if your item is affected. As mentioned, companies may opt to voluntarily register the recall with agencies like the FDA, NHTSA, or CPSC. However, should they choose not to, both organizations may issue their own recall demands to the company or manufacturer. In certain emergencies, the agencies will issue their own recall notices in the mail.


What To Do if Your Product Is Recalled

So, after you’ve gone through all the hoops, you’ve discovered that your product is officially part of the recall list; now what? Well, simply, you have the choice to do something about it. In the event that you have been contacted by the company that created the product or by one of the previously listed government agencies, there will be a specific set of instructions for you to follow which will dictate what you need to do, or in some cases what NOT to do with the said item. In most cases, you will find listed on the company website a copy of the instructions for replacing, repairing, or destroying the defective item. 

Depending on the company’s policy, you may also be eligible to recover some form of compensation for the loss of the item in the form of store credit or a refund. For your safety, it is highly encouraged that you follow the guidelines as the company has laid them out, as certain product defects may cause severe or even life-threatening injuries. If you are unsure if you are correctly following the guidelines, do not hesitate to contact the company for help. 


Injured Due to a Recalled Household Product?

Well, it happened. The defective lawn mower, deli meat slicer, or power tool took off a little more than it say it would on the package. Whether the product failed due to the design, manufacturing, or lack of proper instructions, in the end, you suffered an injury. First and foremost, you’ll want to seek medical attention for the injury to understand the full extent of what you’ve suffered and, in some cases, may have to suffer going forward. Make sure you keep your records and receipts of your visit.

While it may be tempting to discard the item that injured you, you’re going to want to keep it on hand. In fact, you’ll want to ensure you keep any related documentation, including your receipt, the packaging, user manuals, safety warnings, etc., as these materials may need to be evaluated to determine which party is liable for defects. Then, if you haven’t already, go ahead and check to see if the product has a recall. As mentioned earlier, depending on the item, you may be able to find it registered on the NHTSA, FDA, USDA, or CPSC websites.

If the products are listed on any of the previously mentioned websites, take note of when the recall was posted, what information was shared, and if the company has made any attempts to reach out to customers and remedy the issue. If you have suffered an injury from a product that has not been recalled, you contact the company or register a complaint to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission or The United States Food and Drug Administration.


Did You Know That an Attorney Can Help Your Case?

If you have suffered an injury due to a recalled product, you may think it’s no big deal or that you may not even be able to recover any form of compensation. Often, major companies will try to convince you there is nothing they can do for you or even blame you for their mistakes. Don’t let them talk you out of getting the justice you rightfully deserve. After you’ve been injured, you’ll want to contact an attorney who can help you understand what your options are. For more information on how an attorney can help you after you’ve been injured due to a recalled product, complete our free, no-obligation case evaluation form today.