All you need to know about product recalls

Tumble dryer situation
If you are looking for help with the tumble dryer situation please see Dodgy tumble dryers – your legal rights & what to do which will give you all the advice and laws you need to speed up engineers appointments and other redress.

When should a product be recalled?
Any product that could cause a safety risk must be recalled. Examples include food incorrectly labelled so may cause an allergy, a toy which is a choking hazard or a car that has a risk of catching fire.

The main responsibility falls on producers, manufacturers and importers to ensure that products are safe. More on the Government website here.

How should the products be recalled?
The law states that manufacturers must do as much as is practicably possible to inform customers and they have to publish a notice in such form and such manner as is likely to bring to the attention of purchasers of the product the risk the product poses and the fact of the recall. Producers and distributors must inform their local authority (typically, the Trading Standards Department). Products are then placed on the Trading Standards recall list, but other things can be done as well, such as adverts in papers, contacting customers directly, putting information on websites etc.

There are also other product recall websites that allow you to search the most recent product recalls:

Electrical items Electrical Safety Council.
For car & vehicle recalls visit the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) government agency website
Food & drugs it’s the Food Standards Agency (FSA)

More on the Government website  Check out your products online

What are the numbers of recalls?
The RPC undertook some research which found that UK product recalls jumped by 26% to a new high of 310 in 2014/15 from 245 in 2013/14. How many of those did you know about?! The number of food product recalls rose by 50%.

Is enough being done?
No in short. If you look at that list on the Trading Standards website you will see that at least one thing is added nearly every day and do we know about them? Nope.

What do Trading Standards say?
Leon Livermore, chief executive of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute when talking about the tumble dryer situation, told 5 Live Breakfast: “The fact that Trading Standards sit within local government means they’re often stretched for resources.

“Central government itself does have back up powers to force people into recalls and to take action. So we would call on the government, in particular the Department for Business Innovation and Skills to take action before someone dies.”

He added: “I think it’s indicative of how the UK views consumer issues. Trading standards services have seen cuts of over 50% over the last few years and actually there hasn’t been an outcry from the public because a lot of this stuff goes on in the background.” More on these cuts and empowering consumers here.

What are your legal rights?
Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 you are entitled to a full refund within 30 days after that time could be repair or replacement. If the item was bought after the 1st October, Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994.

The “General Product Safety Regulations 2005” dictates that manufacturers must make arrangements for the collection and/or return of the product for destruction from consumers who have purchased the product.

When a manufacturer issues a recall, they are effectively saying that they have identified issues with a number of goods produced from a specific batch on the production line. It does not automatically mean that the item in your possession is one of the problem items, however it is a warning and sometimes an offer of a modification is provided. It is not a legal requirement and the majority of times, a manufacturer will issue a recall to limit the number of negligence claims made against them.

What can consumers do?
Always register your electrical products. This means that it is easy for you to be contacted about any recall.

If you have concerns about the safety of a product you own, check the manufacturer’s website to see if a product recall has been issued.

Check the recall sites above.

Write to the CEO of companies use ceoemail.com to find contact details when you have a product that is faulty and you think may be a wider problem and suggest a product recall and suggest that they do far more than they currently do to recall items!

The Consumer Protection Act 1987 states that if you are harmed by an unsafe product you can sue. You can begin your court case up to three years from the date of the injury. In some cases, you can even sue up to ten years after the product was sold. If for instance you sustain a personal injury or damage to your property it is in this instance where the manufacturer is responsible not the trader. The value of the damage must be more than £275.

When a manufacturer issues a recall, they are effectively saying that they have identified issues with a number of goods produced from a specific batch on the production line. It does not automatically mean that the item in your possession is one the problem items. However, it is a warning and sometimes is an offer of a modification. It is not a legal requirement and the majority of times, a manufacturer will issue a recall to limit the number of negligence claims made against them.

Keep an eye on recall product lists, register for updates.

What about the tumble dryer situation?
These items still haven’t actually been recalled. Which is ridiculous. More on the current situation, your legal rights and what you can do to speed up your engineer visit here.

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2 Responses to All you need to know about product recalls

  1. Jan Davies says:

    I had my 18 month old dryer ‘fixed’, after chasing. I asked the engineer what the problem actually was and his reply of ‘I don’t know, I’m just doing what I’m told’ didn’t fill me with confidence.
    So, I complained again to Hotpoint and they offered a replacement instead. I accepted that verbally, but then checked the model offered online and realised it was just a modified version of what I already had.
    I have rejected the replacement until they either send a completely different design of dryer, OR provide me with the technical engineering data in order for me to make an informed decision.
    Still waiting…..

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