Healy Scanlon Law Firm

How a product recall works


Many Chicago area residents have probably heard of a product being recalled, as recalls often make the news and are sometimes national headline-grabbers. A few people in the area and throughout Illinois may have even had to return a recalled product or two in order to get a refund. Still, many people might not be aware of exactly how the process works.

It is important to remember that several different government agencies have the authority to demand and supervise product recalls when a dangerous product poses a threat to consumer safety. This overview serves as some general guidance about how one agency, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, handles recalls.

An investigation in to whether a recall is warranted starts with a consumer complaint about a product that the agency feels is worthy of some attention and investigation. Through a special "fast track" system, a company is also able to effectively report on itself by telling the agency about a product they want to recall based on the company's internal investigation. Fast track cases generally move directly to pulling a product off the market for replacement, refund or repair.

After investigating, the agency may either decide the product is not dangerous after all or may demand a company recall the product from the market. In most cases, the company will agree to do the recall and work on a plan with the agency that ensures the product will either be removed from the market or made safe for use. However, a company can challenge the agency's decision through a court process.

In all of this, it important to remember the goal of the process is to remove an Illinois defective product from the market. Product recalls are not designed to ensure injured Chicago-area residents get compensation for their losses related to a defective product. To get compensation, a products liability lawsuit may be necessary.

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