Getting your Christmas shopping out of the way early is usually a great way to cut back on stress during the holidays, but there’s a dangerous downside to it that most people never think about.
Every year, dozens of products get recalled during the Christmas season (and throughout the rest of the year as well) for safety reasons. Since it’s illegal to sell a recalled product, shoppers who buy last-minute can be fairly sure they’re not giving their loved one a product with a serious safety defect a day or two later.
But if that coffee brewer, power drill, or robot pal that you’re planning to hand off to a friend or family member has been sitting in your personal storage for months, you won’t know if it has been recalled due to a potentially dangerous safety defect — unless you know where and how to check.
In this article, we’ll talk about some of the ways you can make sure your holiday gifts don’t come with any unwanted or hazardous defects. This advice applies to people receiving gifts as well as those giving them, and whether you bought a gift several months back or just received one and aren’t sure how long ago it was purchased, it’s always worthwhile to take a few minutes to check for product recalls.
Ways to Check for a Christmas Gift Recall
Thanks to the power of the internet and mobile technology, it’s easier than ever before to check for product recalls associated with your gift. Here are some of the best ways to find out whether a product has any existing recalls:
- Register your gift with the manufacturer. For products made by sizable and reputable companies, you can often register to receive alerts in case the product is subject to a recall. Many new products come with registration cards for this purpose, but most consumers overlook them or throw them out. Check the packaging on your gift carefully for information about product registration; if you don’t find any, try checking the manufacturer’s website.
- Check with Recalls.gov. Recalls.gov is a government website that combines product recall information from multiple federal agencies, including the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), among others. Although most Christmas gift recalls will probably be issued by the CPSC, other federal agencies oversee recalls of different types of products; cosmetic product recalls, for example, are handled by the FDA. By visiting Recalls.gov, you can visit the appropriate agency, search for recalls on specific products, sign up for email alerts in case of a recall, or even report a defect in a product that you’ve purchased.
- Consult non-government websites. Like most government websites, Recalls.gov isn’t always as user-friendly as some people might prefer. Fortunately, there are other websites that aggregate information from Recalls.gov and other product recall sources in a more accessible way. For example, the site SafeKids.org offers the latest recall information about children’s products from federal agencies, and it also provides safety tips and news about consumer concerns for parents. The New York Times also has a special section for news about product bans and recalls on its website.
What to Do If Your Gift Has Been Recalled
If a product you own or plan to give to someone as a gift has been recalled, it’s important to take the recall seriously. Product recalls are expensive, and companies generally don’t issue them unless the product presents what the CPSC refers to as “an unreasonable risk of injury or death.” This means there’s a good chance the product could cause serious harm.
If a product you own has been recalled, stop using it immediately and put it away in a safe place that’s inaccessible to children; then, follow the directions of the recall. (Don’t dispose of the product right away unless the recall information says to do so, as the manufacturer may want you to return the product.) Any product recall issued in conjunction with the CPSC will include information about the terms of the recall, including how consumers can return the product and how the manufacturer will reimburse them or address their costs.
If you’re unsure about any aspect of the product recall, check the website for the company that made the product for more information. If you’re still not sure about the recall details, call or email the company and ask for help understanding the terms of the recall and what you should do next.
Contact Perry Charnoff PLLC If You’ve Been Hurt by a Defective Product
While watching out for recalls is a smart way to stay safe, product manufacturers are ultimately the ones responsible for making sure their products don’t pose a threat to consumers. When companies fail to meet that responsibility, the victims who suffer have the right to ask for justice and compensation through the legal system.
If you or someone you love has been hurt by a defective product in Virginia, Maryland, or Washington, D.C., call the legal team at Perry Charnoff today. We have years of experience handling complex cases at trial, and we won’t hesitate to stand up for your rights and take your case to court if necessary. We offer free consultations, and our contingent fee policy guarantees that you will not pay any attorney fees unless we achieve a recovery in your case.
Please call us at (703) 291-6650 or complete our quick online contact form to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.