Recalls occur all the time for various consumer products. You may hear about them on social media, receive something in the mail, get an email alert or see an Illinois news story about a recall. There are many ways companies alert you that a product has a known defect. However, what you may not know is that it takes a very long time for a company to issue a recall.
The recall process is incredibly lengthy, according to Vox. This is something that alarms experts and those who look out for consumer health and safety. Between the first reports of a serious defect with a product and when a recall occurs, many other consumers are at risk of an injury or even a fatality because of the product. Here are three problems that lead to this long recall process.
1. Other actions occur before a recall
Before a recall, other steps must be taken to first try to remedy the situation. This includes making changes to the product. This can lengthen the time from a report of an issue to the eventual issuance of a recall. In the meantime, consumers are typically not aware of any issues unless they have experienced the defect.
2. The Consumer Product Safety Commission monitors product issues
The CPSC is a small agency with limited power to monitor and investigate claims of defective products. It only handles consumer products, not food or automobiles. This agency has a five-member panel that looks at all the complaints it receives and determines what actions to take. The CPSC receives thousands of complaints a year, which is a lot for the small agency to handle and adds to the time between complaint and recall.
3. Recalls occur in conjunction with the manufacturer
The CPSC determines a product requires a recall, but that does mean the recall is in effect immediately. The CPSC works with the manufacturer to determine the details of the recall. They must decide how to address the situation and make it right with consumers before they start to warn of the recall. If the manufacturer is not willing to work with the CPSC, then the CPSC must file a lawsuit for compliance. Obviously, all of this requires even more time before the recall becomes public.
There is hope the process will change in the future to shorten the timeline and ensure you get warnings before you become a victim of a defective product. For now, though, the process remains lengthy.