Common Questions And Answers About Product Recalls

People use an incredible range of products every single day, such as appliances, clothing, and automobiles. They use these products without giving them a second thought. When a product is found to be defective, however, it can cause anything from illness to serious injury. Thankfully, the legal system has several mechanisms in place that can protect people from defective or dangerous products.

Product Safety Laws

Product safety laws exist to prevent injuries from occurring in the first place. When a product is found to be dangerous or defective, companies (and even the government) can issue a recall of the product. Below are a few of the most common questions that people have concerning product recalls.

Q: How can people find out which products have been recalled?

A: Check CPSC's web site frequently, especially the "New This Week" section on the, where they post new recalls as soon as they are issued.

You can also access, where you can search by product type or description, company, and date of recall.

Q: Can a product be reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) if someone believes that it is unsafe?

A: Yes. You can report it:

• Online at the CPSC website (

• By email:

• By phone: 1-800-638-2772, extension 650

• Via fax: 1-800-809-0924

• Sending a letter to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Injury Report, Washington, DC 20207

Q: How long do recalls stay in effect?

A: Products are recalled all of the time, but not everyone hears about the recall immediately. It could be weeks, months, or years before a person knows that they have a recalled product. There is no end date to a product recall, so follow the guidelines for reporting as soon as possible.

Q: If I discover that I own a defective product, what should I do with it?

A: Most product recalls advise that you return the product, regardless of condition, to the store where it was purchased for a full refund. If the defective product is a part of an automobile, you should receive a notice to take the vehicle to a reputable service and repair shop to correct the defect at no cost to you.

Q: What if someone becomes injured as a result of the defective product?

A: The first step to take if you are hurt due to a dangerous or defective product is to seek medical treatment to protect your health. The second step is to protect your legal rights by contacting an attorney. You have the right to pursue compensation and recover damages from the responsible party, based on the type of defect:

• A design defect occurs before the product is assembled, making it fundamentally unsafe.

• A manufacturing defect occurs during production and might only affect some parts of the product.

• A marketing defect might not have any physical defects, but is unsafe to use according to the advertising materials.

Thanks to the product safety and liability laws, an injured party can hold the seller, manufacturer, or distributor accountable should something terrible happen.



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