A household product may be recalled if found defective, potentially harmful to the user, or when found it violates a mandatory safety standard set by the government.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is the agency mandated by the government to oversee the safety of household products, it checks over 15,000 types of consumer products. Established as an independent agency, CPSC helps the manufacturers to familiarize with their reporting requirements once they discover a defect, recognise potentially hazardous products, and assists them to develop and implement the process of addressing a hazard.
The manufacturer may discover the defect and voluntarily recall the product, or the CPSC may express concerns if it gets complaints from the consumers. If a manufacturer refuses to accept that its product has safety issues, CPSC may seek court intervention. The CPSC also expects other companies that are involved in importation, distribution, and the sale of the products to device a mechanism on how to identify defects and report them. This may include how to handle complaints from consumers, processing warranty, liability lawsuits, insurance, testing and other issues.
Apart from defects being identified by the manufacturer or other government organs, the consumers should also take it upon themselves to identify products that are likely to cause harm and check with authorities about their safety. It does not mean that every complaint is a conclusion that the products poses a health or safety risk. After receiving consumer complain, the CPSC works with the manufacturer to determine the appropriate action.
CPSC requires anyone with any complaint to report immediately after they discover the defect. When reporting a defect on a product, you will be required to identify and describe the product appropriately, tell the nature of the defect and the extent of harm it may cause, name of the manufacturer, model number and give your own information.
CPSC recommends that once a product is recalled, a consumer should stop using it and follow the specific guidance in recall announcement. Even when you learn of the recall after a long period of time, the CPSC says there is no end date to a product recall and the product should still be returned to ensure a secure replacement, or its repair.
Not all recalls on household products means that the consumer will get a refund and the remedy for consumers is described in each recall announcement made by the CPSC. Other products may only need to be repaired or replaced. In most instances, stores will have a return and refund policy when a manufacturer announces a recall of its product.
To get timely and accurate information about product recalls, subscribe to their e-mail alerts. You can also receive the information by subscribing to their RSS feed using your email address and an RSS reader or through the twitter account, @OnSafety. Other information resources include CPSC.gov or SaferProducts.gov. Manufacturers may also post recall information and consumers may check regularly for updated information about a product or its part.