Injury and Accident Law

Preparing for a Product Recall

CHAPTER 3 - How a Firm Undertakes a Product Recall

This Chapter provides information on initiating a product recall when the CPSC staff determines that the hazard associated with a product warrants such action.

Preparing for a Product Recall

Once the CPSC staff determines that a product is in violation of a Commission statute or regulation, it will notify you in the LOA that corrective action to address the violation is warranted. The LOA generally will also include specific corrective actions the CPSC staff believes are appropriate to address the violation. Where appropriate, based on the nature of the hazard and the likelihood of injury associated with the noncomplying product, the Compliance staff will request that the firm recall the product from the marketplace, including consumers who already own the product. This corrective action plan, after being reviewed by the CPSC staff for adequacy, forms the basis for any action you take to resolve the problem.

It is unlikely that any two recall programs will ever be identical. Therefore, companies should be prepared to address issues that invariably arise. For instance:

  • How did the product fail to comply with government safety regulations?
  • Where are the unsafe products located? How many are there?
  • Has the firm discontinued production and shipments of these products to distributors and retailers?
  • Has the firm notified distributors and retailers to stop selling the product and asked them to help identify consumers who own the product?
  • Has the firm started reviewing existing databases to identify potential product owners, e.g., product registration and customer service records?
  • Has the firm drafted a press release announcing the recall? What other forms of public notice are needed?
  • Has the firm set-up a toll-free telephone service that will be able to handle the number of calls expected after the recall is announced?
  • Is the firm prepared to deploy people and/or fund an effort to provide replacement parts for defective products or to exchange them for new products that do not have the problem?
  • Has the firm developed a plan to ship replacement parts or new units to distributors and/or retailers involved in the product recall, or otherwise repair the units in their inventory?
  • Is the firm prepared to monitor the product recall and provide timely reports to the Commission on the progress of the recall?
  • Has the firm developed a plan to dispose of recalled units?
  • How is the firm upgrading its quality control or risk analysis procedures to prevent a similar product recall in the future?

This list addresses administrative and operational functions of a firm involved in a product recall. Even if a product recall is merely potential, a firm should be prepared to respond to the questions listed above.