Product Recalls Done Right, Done Late, and Not Done At All
Samsung recently announced the recall of its popular Note 7 smartphone. After its batteries were shown to overheat and cause fires, the company issued a recall to replace the batteries. Unfortunately, the recall was not able to fix the overheating problem, and Samsung did the right thing and pulled the items from the shelf.
More recently, Samsung was forced to recall 2.8 million washing machines due to a defect that allows the drum to become loosened on the inside of the machine and come into contact with the user, causing significant injuries. Given the speed and force with which new washers spin clothes, the danger of the drum coming loose is severe.
Samsung has faced complaints and lawsuits about injuries from these products, and fortunately, they are doing the right thing at this point by recalling the dangerous items. Sometimes companies find defects on their own and recall products. More often, it takes complaints, and often injuries, from many consumers before recalls are issued. And unfortunately, even after numerous complaints, injuries, and even lawsuits, sometimes companies still refuse to recall dangerous products.
The federal government keeps websites for product recalls on consumer products and on motor vehicles that are good for consumers to check. When a recall has been issued, companies are often required to issue mailed notices to consumers if the recall poses a danger to users. However, consumers are often left in the dark about dangerous products because either the recall notice does not reach the consumer or the company simply refuses to issue a recall.
Steps consumers can use to protect themselves include checking to see if their vehicles are subject to any recalls rather than rely on the dealer or manufacturer to inform them. If you notice a product that you have is not acting right or has a safety issue, the best advice is to stop using it, return it, and let the manufacturer know of the problem.
Of course, consumers rely on manufacturers to make safe products and expect if they buy something from a reputable company in the marketplace that it will be thoroughly tested and safe. Unfortunately, manufacturers of products do not always test their products thoroughly for safety, they do not always investigate the suppliers of the components to make sure they are reputable, they do not always think through all the ways a product will be used and how it may wear out over time, and they simply sometimes take shortcuts to save money at the expense of product safety.