BP and Toyota may be hogging the headlines, but last month alone there were a startling number of recalls from the likes of McDonald’s, Campbell’s, Kellog’s, Maytag, Sony, Bridgestone Tires, Target, Crate & Barrel, and not one, but seven crib-manufacturing companies. A second trend is following close behind the rash of recalls: apparent consumer apathy. People are either unaware of food and product recalls, ignore companies’ calls to return or destroy the goods, or worse, use and consume defective products anyway.
After Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act in 2008 that tightened safety regulations for companies, regulators have issued more recalls with stricter procedures. Not only have the number of recalls increased, thanks to Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and online news sources, they’re now more visible. While the media onslaught can be difficult for PR firms to handle, it’s just as difficult for consumers to sift through all the information, leading to what the Washington Post has dubbed “recall fatigue”.
To help consumers keep track of the health and safety information they care about, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture have teamed up to create Recalls.gov. The site also has a mobile app for the Android platform, with plans for Blackberry and iPhone apps to come. Consumers will be able to search for recalls by brand name or product type, report defective products, and learn safety tips.
Rocketlawyer.com has resources to help you get the consumer protection you need. You can create a Complaint Letter to a Company or Complaint Letter to the BBB or Attorney General, as well as Find a Lawyer.