Managing Recalls in an Atmosphere of Growing Consumer “Fatigue”
Last year alone, consumers were bombarded with more than 6.5 recalls per day, according to a recent USA Today article quoting statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
That’s more than 2,300 recalls a year, ranging from consumer products and pharmaceuticals to medical devices and food. Additionally, 12 percent of people ate recalled food and 40 percent never checked to see if a product had been recalled in the past.
Those are staggering numbers and it is clear that “recall fatigue” has begun to set in. It’s a condition under which people who frequently see recalls begin to ignore recall announcements and fail to dispose of potentially harmful products. As this phenomenon grows, the liability facing companies managing recalls can increase exponentially.
According to USA Today, experts indicate that the increase in results is from a combination of greater regulatory oversight, better testing procedures and the use of social media where consumers can notify others quickly about potential problems. The problem is that all of this information amounts to an overload that is numbing consumers.
Companies struggling to reach consumers who may not know about a recall or choose to ignore it despite its dangers must now take extra steps to ensure that safety warnings and recall announcements are heeded. Failure to do so could result in serious consequences. Government agencies are working to expand the methods they use to communicate with the public. And they will expect you to do the same.
Businesses can ease the liability of a recall on their reputation and bottom line by being upfront and honest with customers, cooperating fully with federal and state authorities during a recall, and to take action according to a pre-arranged plan.
For more information about managing recalls, contact Todd A. Harrison, Esq. at Venable LLP.