A Manufacturer’s Worst Nightmare

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 6:12am
Matt Williams, Global Applications Engineering Manager, Tyco Electronics
Matt Williams, Global Applications Engineering Manager, Tyco Electronics

Although high-profile automobile recalls seem to make headlines on a regular basis, most home appliance recalls are handled quietly and efficiently, receiving little public attention. In fact, you may not even be aware that your blender, coffee maker, refrigerator or dishwasher is on a recall list.

Clearly, appliance manufacturers thoroughly test their products for safety, but even with the most rigorous testing a product malfunction can occur, triggering a recall. In such cases, most manufacturers alert consumers via the Internet, television and print media. Now, if you have learned that your appliance is on a recall list, what should do?

An eHow post titled "How to Handle Home Appliance Recalls" offers some practical advice for consumers, including web sites where you can find out if you have a product that might be on a recall list. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks posed by consumer products, provides information on over 4,500 product recalls and recall alerts. 

Many home inspection services also offer home appliance recall checks for less than $50. An inspector will record the model numbers of your appliances, furnace, air conditioner, hot water heater, etc, and submit that information to the manufacturers. Within a few days the company will provide you with a report that shows if any of your appliances have been recalled due to part malfunction or a safety recall. RecallChek, an online service, even allows you to collect and submit your own model numbers to obtain a report on your home appliances.

With the number of consumer product recalls and withdrawals growing each year, appliance manufacturers are working hard to ensure that their products are safe and reliable. The cost of a recall can be startlingly high in terms of direct costs such as retrieval, replacement and repair; not to mention the indirect costs measured in terms of consumer confidence and company credibility.

So, while you don’t want to find your appliance on a recall list, manufacturers certainly don’t want their product to be on it in the first place.


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