Consumers increasingly tune out recall notices

Post #2 image. 2012-06-21.jpgRecent figures from USA Today show that there is concern among manufacturers and regulators that consumers have grown tired of the constant recall notices arriving in their mailboxes. The increased numbers of recalls, while a good thing, is causing consumers to be exhausted and ignore some notices, possibly to their detriment. Last year alone there were some 2,363 product recalls in consumer products, medical devices, drugs and food. This number represents an increase of 14% from just a year before.

While the increased number of recalls is good in terms of notifying consumers of potential dangers, it creates a worry that consumers will tire of the repeated warnings, perhaps not taking them as seriously. The messages are increasingly reaching consumers, as regulators have been successful in spreading the word of product issues through social media and other forms of communication. Mike Rozembajgier, the VP of recalls at Stericycle ExpertRecall, said, “We’re experiencing recall fatigue in my mind at the consumer level and also perhaps at the business level, and we all have to worry about that.”

The problem is that if consumers are not paying attention to recalls then they become ineffective. The regulators then must come up with new ways to warn consumers about dangerous products that will somehow break through. As a result, consumer protection agencies are trying to vary the methods that they are using to contact consumers. Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are now being used by government agencies to get the word out about potential recalls rather than simply mailing notices which are more easily discarded as junk mail. Authorities are not giving up on the more traditional means of contact like telephone calls.

USA Today found that most retailers believe that the existing national recall system is flawed and that the country would benefit from a more uniform system. The FDA and USDA have different standards for recalls, each with its own unique set of requirements. These variances make it difficult for manufacturers and retailers to fully comply with all the specific rules for each recall. Though retailers are concerned about the safety of their customers, they are also worried about how they will protect their reputation and their bottom line. Jeanne Colleluori of Wegmans said, “Our concern is for our customers but we have to protect our name as well, and we are very much aware that when there is a recall if it is a Wegmans brand product our reputation is at stake.”

Product recalls should be of concern to all consumers as they can warn you of potentially life-threatening dangers lurking in your own home. Always pay careful attention to any notices you receive as they could save your life or the lives of those you love. If you have been injured and you think you may have a personal injury claim, please contact the Mississippi personal injury lawyers at Kobs & Philley at (601) 863-8170.

Source: “Surge in products being recalled may be numbing consumers,” by Christopher Doering, published at USAToday.com.

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