Products liability: how does a product recall work?

2020-09-01T14:18:42+00:00November 30th, 2017|

Many people in Orange County and the rest of Orange County are probably loosely aware of what a product recall is just by watching the news. Some Cost Mesa residents may have even responded to a recall in the past by taking in a home product for replacement, a repair or a no-questions-asked refund.

With regard to the details of how a recall works, Californians may have a bit of a fuzzier picture in their minds. This is not surprising since there is no one absolutely uniform way to conduct a recall. This is because several administrative agencies have the authority to keep unsafe products off of the country’s shelves, and each agency has slightly different recall procedures.

Still, there are some basic principles as to how recalls work. Generally speaking, the agency with jurisdiction receives a report of an unsafe product being on the market. In many if not most cases, the manufacturer of the product reports the safety issue, and the company and the agency work together to get the product off of the shelves or take other appropriate action.

In other cases, after investigating the reports, the agency might approach the manufacturer and ask it to pull the product for repairs, replacement, or a refund. The manufacturer at this point has the option of agreeing to do so, in which case the recall is dubbed “voluntary” since the agency did not have to get a court order to pull the product.

Although rare, sometimes manufacturers will contest the agency’s decision to recall a product and claim the product is sufficiently safe. These sorts of matter get resolved in court, as the agency will generally try to get an order requiring the manufacturer to remove the product.

One thing that people must remember, though, is that recalls can only get a person a replacement product, a free repair or a refund. Even if the person was severely injured by the product, they cannot get additional compensation through a recall but instead can pursue a products liability lawsuit.

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