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Silent Recalls: Putting Consumer Safety at Risk

If you bought a product that was later found to be defective, you would know about it, right? Not necessarily. While manufacturers are forced to recall products when they are known to cause safety issues, many circumvent the process with a “silent recall.” Although known as a technical service bulletin, a silent recall allows manufacturers to fix defects and other problems that customers report without notifying or involving the government or other regulatory authorities.

Silent recalls have been applied to a variety of products, from children’s toys to sporting goods to heaters and even cars. The manufacturers in these cases claim that the defect is so minor in nature that no recall needs to be issued. So the manufacturer communicates directly with consumers to fix the problem and minimize publicity of the defect.

Jeffrey Nadrich, a Modesto California Personal Injury Lawyer, notes that “the recall process is in place to protect consumers, and we should not allow the manufacturer to determine what does or does not need to be reported to regulating authorities.”

Manufacturers are supposed to follow the recall process as set forth by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Safety is the utmost concern to the CPSC and if a product is likely to cause injury or death, the company must contact the CPSC right away – within 24 hours of discovery – to begin the recall process.

Silent recalls have been used by the automotive industry. Consumers are not typically aware of these, since they frequently go unreported. General Motors, Toyota and several car manufacturers have opted to name their silent recalls “customer satisfaction campaigns.” Such campaigns have been used after a new vehicle model goes to market and consumers begin to report unexpected problems with the vehicle.

After a silent recall has been initiated, the manufacturer will usually opt to repair the defect, replace the product or offer a refund to the purchaser. However, for those who have been injured due to a defective product, a replacement or refund will not adequately compensate for an injury or loss. Consumers who have been injured by defective products should contact a product liability attorney to learn more about the right to compensation. An injury victim may be entitled to compensation for wage loss, disfigurement, pain and suffering, medical bills, and much more.

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