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Defective Product Recalls

In today’s economy where new consumer products are introduced seemingly every day, many get to market without a full understanding of the potential dangers they present. Pharmaceutical products, consumer goods, motor vehicle components, recreational items, environmental and cleaning products—when enough evidence mounts to support concerns about a product, the appropriate governing agency may request or mandate that the manufacturer recall the product, so that the risk of injury will be minimized.

How a Product Recall Works

Typically, the product recall process starts when a consumer files a complaint with a specific government agency, alleging that a specific product poses a safety or health hazard. For consumer products, the governing agency is customarily the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Pharmaceutical products or drugs are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. When motor vehicles or automobile components are involved, the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission may get involved. There are also instances where the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency becomes involved in a product recall.

Once a complaint is received, the agency conducts a preliminary investigation to determine whether further review is necessary. If so, the agency conducts an in-depth investigation, putting the product through a series of tests. The agency may determine, based on the tests, that no recall is necessary.

If, however, the agency concludes that a recall is warranted, the company manufacturing the product will be notified. The company can agree to a voluntary recall, or the company can refuse to recall the product. The agency can then file suit to have the product recalled. It’s important to understand that, in 2011, there were 413 voluntary product recalls. Since 2001, however, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has not taken legal action to force a company to recall a product.

If a company discovers a problem with its own product, the company can request what is known as a “fast-track” recall, by simply notifying the CPSC and advising that it is recalling a product. In 2011, this accounted for more than half of all products recalled.

Once the product is recalled, the consumer either gets a refund, a replacement or a repair of the original product purchased.

Examples of Recently Recalled Products

  • Sears Kenmore dehumidifiers were recalled in July, 2013, because of potential fire and burn hazards.
  • Masterbuilt Electric Smokehouse smokers were recalled in July, 2013, because of potential fire hazards.
  • Infants First Impression Varsity Jackets were recalled in July, 2013, because of potential choking hazards.

Contact the Law Office of Metzger & Kleiner

At Metzger & Kleiner, we provide a free initial consultation. To schedule an appointment, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 215-622-2210 in Philadelphia, 610-563-2186 in the Lehigh Valley, or toll free at 800-228-1760.

We take all product liability personal injury claims on a contingency basis. We won’t charge attorney fees unless we recover compensation for your losses.

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