What Are a Consumer’s Rights in a Product Recall?

It’s not uncommon for a manufacturer to commit errors during the design and production of a particular product, especially if the product is something that is complicated to create, either because it is composed of thousands of parts or because it undergoes a very specific process.

It’s during these lapses when manufacturers tend to recall their products in light of discovering a product defect. A product recall can either be a safety alert or a request from a manufacturer for the return of the product. A prime example of such a scenario is when Samsung’s Note 7 was discovered to have a defect that could cause the battery to explode, which then prompted the Korean tech giant to recall what was considered one of the very best Android smartphones at the time.

This faux pas worsened to a point where it eventually became illegal to use the Galaxy Note 7 on a plane. Other examples can be found in car recalls. Now, to understand your rights, you need to know the types of product defects that are considered in a product liability lawsuit. These defects are:

  • Design Defects – are defects that are present in a product even before it was built, which means that the design itself is dangerous. A top-heavy car is inherently dangerous because of how these cars tend to roll over during fast, sharp turns.
  • Manufacturing Defects – are defects that occur during the assembly of the product. Missing parts and defective parts are common examples of manufacturing defects. An example is when a pebble accidentally finds its way into a soda bottle, or when circuits aren’t installed properly, thus causing them to short.
  • Marketing Defects – are flaws in the way that a product is marketed. These include mislabeling, vague instructions, and a lack of safety warnings. This also explains why some products have warnings that are otherwise obvious.

What Product Liability Rights Do Consumers Have?

If you own a defective product, you are entitled to a free repair, a free replacement, or a full refund depending on the circumstances. Consumers will be asked to present proof of purchase when availing a free repair, replacement, or a full refund.

In the event that an individual is injured by a defective product, that individual may sue the manufacturer provided that he or she sustained damages. These damages can include personal injury, damage to property, pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, and in extreme cases, the death of a loved one. However, it should be noted that this should be understood as a last resort, especially since product liability lawsuits are complicated and you will most certainly need the help of a lawyer who specializes in handling defective product liability lawsuits.

If you own a product that has been recalled, it’s important to stop using it immediately. This is not only the reasonable thing to do but also because continuing to use the product after a recall could place the burden of injury on the user. While a product recall does not completely take away a manufacturer’s liability, it can act as a mitigating circumstance, especially since a manufacturer can simply argue that you were informed of the defect and you knowingly used the product despite the risks.

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