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A product recall is a request to return to the maker a batch or an entire production run of a product, usually due to the discovery of safety issues. The recall is an effort to limit liability for corporate negligence (which can cause costly legal penalties) and to improve or avoid damage to publicity. Recalls are costly to a company because they often entail replacing the recalled product or paying for damage caused by use, although possibly less costly than the consequential costs caused by damage to brand name and reduced trust in the manufacturer.

A country's consumer protection laws will have specific requirements in regard to product recalls. Such regulations may include how much of the cost the maker will have to bear, situations in which a recall is compulsory (usually because the risk is big enough), or penalties for failure to recall. The firm may also initiate a recall voluntarily, perhaps subject to the same regulations as if the recall were compulsory. In the case of a compulsory recall, consumers who fail to dispose of it or return it to the manufacturer for replacement or refund could be fined for as much as $5000.[citation needed]

Contents

General steps to a product recall

A product recall usually involves the following steps, which may differ according to local laws:

  • Maker or dealer notifies the authorities responsible of their intention to recall a product. Consumer hotlines or other communication channels are established. The scope of the recall, that is, which serial numbers or batch numbers etc. are recalled, is often specified.
  • Product recall announcements are released on the respective government agency's website (if applicable), as well as in paid notices in the metropolitan daily newspapers. In some circumstances, heightened publicity will also result in news television reports advising of the recall.
  • When a consumer group learns of a recall it will also notify the public by various means.
  • Typically, the consumer is advised to return the goods, regardless of condition, to the seller for a full refund or modification.
  • Avenues for possible consumer compensation will vary depending on the specific laws governing consumer trade protection and the cause of recall.

Highlights of major product recalls (1959-2009)

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1959

  • USA 1959-60 Cadillacs. "steering linkage (pitman arm) failed on many cars while making a 90 degree turn at 10 to 15 mph (24 km/h); that the arms were made of metal somewhat softer than that usually employed to withstand the stresses of low-speed turns; and that General Motors had sold six times as many pitman arm replacement units during those years than during the preceding and succeeding years." pg 150 the struggle for Auto safety Chapter titled: regulation as Recalls

1982

1998

  • USA (1998-1999): Chevrolet Malibu incident: Failure to recall resulted in multiple fatal occurrences

2000

2003

  • United Kingdom (April 2003): The recall of a children's playground toy that was a craze that hit primary schools all over the UK, the Yo-Yo Ball, was issued due to a manufacturing fault that caused an accident whereby a schoolgirl from Newcastle-upon-Tyne got strangled after doing the Yo-Yo Ball trick, the Helicopter (swinging the ball above the head).
  • Australia (April 2003): The recall of a variety of goods manufactured by Pan Pharmaceuticals as a result of failures in quality assurance and standards. The company was soon put under receivership.

2005

2006

  • Ireland and United Kingdom (24 June 2006): Cadbury-Schweppes announced that there has been a salmonella scare in their products, causing millions of chocolate bars from stores across Ireland and the UK to be recalled.
  • 2006 Sony notebook computer batteries recall:
    • August 2006: Dell recalls over four million notebook computer batteries, after a number of instances where the batteries, made by Sony, overheated or caught fire. Most of the defective notebooks were sold in the US, however some one million faulty batteries could be found elsewhere in the world.
    • August 2006: Following Dell's battery recall Apple Computer also recalls 1.8 million Sony notebook computer batteries. Similar to Dell, most of the notebooks were sold in the United States. However some 700,000 units could be found overseas.
    • September 2006: Matsushita (Panasonic) recalls 6,000 batteries.
    • September 2006: Toshiba recalls 340,000 batteries.
    • September 2006: IBM/Lenovo recalls 500,000 batteries.
    • October 2006: Hitachi recalls 16,000 batteries.
    • October 2006: Fujitsu recalls 338,000 batteries.
    • October 2006: Sharp recalls 28,000 batteries.
    • February 2007: Lenovo and Sanyo recalls 200,000 batteries.

2007

  • March 2007: Menu Foods and several other companies issue numerous pet food recalls.
  • March 2007: Ford Motor Company recalls new 2008 Super Duty after reported tailpipe fires in the diesel version.
  • April 2007: Nestle voluntarily recalled its "Caramel Kit Kat Chunky" bars and "KitKat Cookie Dough Chocolate" bars due to some bits of hard plastic being found in the chocolate.
  • June 2007: Foreign Tire Sales Inc. recalls tires imported from Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co., of Hangzhou, China. The tires were not made to safety standards to prevent tread separation, a problem that led to the nation's largest tire recall in 2000 by Ford Motor Company. Foreign Tire Sales Inc., was unable to comply with the recall since it has about 6 employees and doesn't have money to pay for a recall. Further, Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber doesn't have accountability for a recall since the company is based solely in China and sells in the US through third-party re-sellers.[1]
  • June 2007: The Thomas and Friends Wooden Railway toys were recalled due to risks of Lead Poisoning from the Lead Paint.
  • July 13, 2007: Gerber recalled Organic Rice Cereal and Organic Oatmeal Cereal after a Tampa, Florida parent, Richard Andree, found approximately 30 hard chunks, some of which were a ½ inch long in the product.
  • August 14, 2007: Nokia recalled 46 Million BL-5C batteries after a primary investigation which revealed faulty manufactured batteries by Matsushita Electric Corporation which could explode after short circuit
  • August 30, 2007: Some organic chocolates made in China recalled because there were worms inside the chocolate.
  • In October 2007 ground beef from the Topps Meat Company of Elizabeth, New Jersey was recalled. As of 2007, it is the second-largest beef recall in United States history.[2]
  • September 2007: Honda Motor Company recalled 182,756 Honda Civic sedans and coupes.
  • October 2007: Alltrade Tools recalls over 800,000 power tool chargers.
  • In October 2007 several U.S. Pharmaceutical companies voluntarily recalled several infant cough and cold medicines due to possible overdosing dangers.
  • November 2007: A popular children's toy, Bindeez (also known as Aqua Dots, in the United States), was recalled when it was discovered that 1,4-butanediol had been substituted for 1,5-pentanediol in the bead manufacturing process. The human body metabolises the substance to form the anesthetic GHB.[3]
  • November 2007: Children's snow and sand castle kits by Paricon recalled due to sharp edges; sold exclusively at LL Bean
  • November 2007: About 175,000 Curious George 12-inch plush dolls with plastic faces were recalled due to the risk of lead exposure and poisoning.

2008

  • February 2008: The USDA recalls 143 million pounds of processed frozen beef from the Westland/Hallmark processor in Southern California due to cattle not being inspected before slaughter. There was little chance of any illness in the cattle. It was the largest recall of beef in US history.[4]
  • April 2008: Malt-O-Meal voluntarily recalls its Puffed Rice and Puffed Wheat cold cereal products.
  • 1st of April, 2008: Malaysia's first nationwide automotive recall is done upon the Proton Savvy's rear wheel bearing, as there were part defects discovered during random checks.
  • August 2008: Maple Leaf Foods voluntarily recalled a number of meat and deli products after an outbreak of listeriosis. Four elderly people have died as a result. Affected restaurants include McDonald's and Mr. Sub.
  • September 2008: 440,000 Sony VAIO type T TZ series due to excessive heat production, produced in May 2007 - July 2008 had to be recalled.[5]

2009

2010

Product recall agency by country

Australia

Canada

Germany

Ireland

The Netherlands

  • Voedsel en Waren Authoriteit: all consumer goods

United Kingdom

United States

See also

References

United States

US Coast Guard: Marine vehicles and related products (e.g. boats, personal watercraft, life jackets) Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC): Consumer products (e.g. toys, household goods, bicycles, off-road vehicles, etc.)

External links


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