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The Different Types of Product Recalls

As consumers, we buy products in good faith, believing that manufacturers have complied with all necessary regulations to ensure the goods we use—whether they are motor vehicles, electronics or food — are safe and reliable.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Product recalls are common, and as widely publicized cases like those involving the Takata air bags demonstrate, the impact may potentially affect the safety of millions of people.

Recalls generally begin when a consumer complains about a product. A first response to a defective product is to contact the federal agency responsible for issuing a recall in the specific category. For instance, for a food or drug related recall, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) typically issue recalls for ingestible items, with the exception of alcohol and shellfish. These agencies assign different classes for recalls, with Class I being the most dangerous —products that can kill or seriously harm you. Class II recalls span products that are harmful, but with temporary or treatable effects. The final category, Class III, includes items that violate regulations, such as misleading packaging.

When the defective product is a motor vehicle, the recall falls under the purview of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency recalls products that are dangerous, or when a significant number of complaints have been received about a certain problem with a product.

Recalls related to consumer complaints about other products usually fall under responsibility of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Sometimes, companies will actually contact the agency to start the recall process and get ahead of the issue.

Consumer products should be reasonably safe for use. If you or someone close to you has been injured due to a defective product, meet with the skilled personal injury attorneys at Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson.

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