Consumer Product Recalls

Manufacturers recall many of their own products every year when defects and/or safety risks are discovered in their products. Most recalls occur for safety-related reasons. Sometimes, a manufacturer will voluntarily recall products, and sometimes they are compelled to issue recalls.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has jurisdiction over more than 15,000 consumer products. According to the agency, deaths, injury, and property damage from consumer product incidents costs the U.S. more than $700 billion a year. CPSC contends that its advocacy since 1972 has resulted in a 30 percent reduction in death and injury from consumer products. CPSC announces recalls of products that present risks to consumers because the products are either defective or violate mandatory safety standards issued by CPSC.

When a consumer discovers that a product that she owns is recalled, she should stop using it. The consumer should also follow the specific guidance in CPSC’s recall announcement on that product. A product recall usually lasts indefinitely. Even if more than a year has passed since CPSC issued a recall notice, product owners should read and follow the instructions in the recall notice.

The remedies for recalled products are specific to each product; no single remedy applies to all products. Each recall announcement is as specific as possible and details the remedy for the product. An announcement typically includes information on where the product was sold, the type and number of injuries or damage caused by the product, and contact information needed to obtain the remedy. The announcement frequently limits recalls to products manufactured during a specific time period. For example, CPSC may announce a recall on toy X, manufactured between June 17, 2005 and August 23, 2006. Owners may or may not get a refund of their recalled product.


Inside Consumer Product Recalls