Consumer Law

Consumer Law Product Recall FAQ



Q: Does the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have injury data on particular consumer products that I can see?


  • A:Yes. CPSC has some product-related injury related studies at: http://www.cpsc.gov/library/data.html.



Q: How can I find out which products have been recalled?

  • A:Here are some easy ways to find out about new product recalls:

    • Check CPSC's web site frequently, especially the "New This Week" section on the http://www.cpsc.gov, where they post new recalls as soon as they are issued
    • You can also access http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerel.html, where you can search by product type or description, company, and date of recall



Q: If a product I have is recalled, does that mean I should stop using it?

  • A:Usually, yes. You should follow the specific guidance in CPSC's recall announcement on that product.



Q: If a product I have is recalled, will I get my money back?

  • A:Not necessarily. There's no one-size-fits-all remedy for recalled products. The remedy for consumers is described in each recall announcement.



Q: If a product (such as a toy) made by a particular company is recalled, does that mean the company's other toys and other products are unsafe?


  • A:Each recall CPSC announces applies only to the specific brand and model identified in the recall announcement. In many cases, the recall applies only to products manufactured and date coded for specific time periods (e.g. brand "X", model "Y" manufactured between September 1 and October 17, 2001). Details of each recall are described in CPSC's recall announcements.



Q: If someone in my family was harmed by a consumer product, or if I believe a product is unsafe, can I report it to CPSC?


  • A:Yes. CPSC would welcome your report about an unsafe product. You can do that:

    • Online at http://www.cpsc.gov/talk.html
    • By e-mail (hazard@cpsc.gov)
    • By phone (800/638-2772, x650)
    • Via fax (800/809-0924) or
    • By sending a letter (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Injury Report, Washington, DC 20207)



Q: Suppose I have a product that's been recalled, but I don't hear about the recall until a week, a month, or a year or more later. How long is a recall in effect?

  • A:There's usually no end date to a product recall. Even if you don't learn of the recall for a year or more, you should follow the guidance in the recall notice the CPSC issues. Call the company at the toll-free number given in CPSC's news release announcing the recall to secure the remedy. If you're unsuccessful with the company, contact CPSC's toll-free hotline (800/638-2772) or send an e-mail to info@cpsc.gov.



Q: What does CPSC do with my complaint, and what feedback will I get?

  • A:First, you'll get a letter from CPSC's National Injury Information Clearinghouse shortly after they receive your complaint. It will describe how CPSC will use the information you sent and will request you to review the report and confirm its accuracy. At that point, you can make corrections or supply additional information.

    Second, if you've identified a manufacturer in your complaint, they send it to the manufacturer. If you've told CPSC that they may include your name and contact information in what they send to the manufacturer, you may receive a direct response from the company.

    Third, CPSC may or may not investigate your product complaint. They receive about 10,000 reports of product-related injuries and deaths a year from consumers and others. Due to their small staff size, they can investigate only a few of them. But if they decide to investigate the product you've reported to them, a CPSC investigator will contact you by phone or mail. (It may not be for some time after you have sent your complaint.) If, based on the investigation, CPSC decides some recall or other action is required, they would not make that public until they issue a news release.

    Whether or not CPSC conducts an investigation of your product complaint, the information in it -- and in all of the product complaints they receive -- is a valuable resource for CPSC. It becomes part of their database, which they use to identify patterns of injuries and hazards associated with particular products. They then can use a wide range of tools to correct potentially unsafe products:


    • Voluntary standards
    • Consumer education
    • Safety guidelines
    • Cooperative product recalls with manufacturers
    • As a last resort, mandatory rulemaking



Q: Can I get information on complaints others have filed with CPSC?


  • A:Yes. In March, 2011, CPSC launched a searchable database of product complaints. You can now get information about complaints filed against products that have not been recalled. The information is available at the SaferProducts.gov website.



Q: Why is a consumer product recalled?

  • A:CPSC announces recalls of products that present a significant risk to consumers because the product may be defective or violates a mandatory standard issued by CPSC.

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