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Scott huntington
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The Cost of Recall Fatigue

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Moments ago, a Google news search for the topic “recalls” revealed the following headlines:

“Volkswagen All Set To Recall 11 Million Diesel Vehicles”

“Ford Recalls Thousands Of F-150 Trucks”

“Shivvers recalls Country Clipper lawn mowers”

“Honda recalling 143K Civic, Fit models for CVT”

“Aldi recalls yogurts over nut allergy fears”

Exhausted yet? There are actually more than 6 million results to sort through. Recalls are such a big deal that the government has set up its own recall website in order to help consumers keep track of them all. All of this can lead to a new syndrome referred to as recall fatigue. A person can get so inundated with recalls that they don’t even bother to pursue them. Is that wise? Are you feeling a bout of recall fatigue?

Recalls by the Numbers

There are approximately 2,363 product recalls reported annually. That represents 32 million units of things that have to be sent back, replaced or destroyed. It breaks down to around 6.5 recalls a day. Among the specific recent recalls, you will find:

  • 300,000 home electric heaters
  • 30,000 bunk beds
  • 1.2 million high chairs
  • 4.1 million laptop batteries
  • 500,000 pounds of beef
  • 3,918 different peanut butter products
  • 1 million Easy Bake Ovens

That just represents the proverbial tip of the recall iceberg.

Massive Airbag Recall

The latest example of a massive recall that could lead to recall fatigue involves airbags. A Japanese company by the name of Takata prompted a recall of its airbags that could be in 54 million cars around the globe. In America, 34 million car owners have been asked to get their airbags replaced. Naturally, a recall of this size has overwhelmed dealerships and automakers. They simply can’t keep up with the demand. Does this mean those cars waiting to be serviced are ticking time bombs? That is the type of issue that strikes at the heart of recall fatigue. To recall or not to recall?

Paying Attention

Unless you set up an email alert, you probably can’t keep up with the various recalls that are launched every day. Typically, the recalls involving massive auto problems or anything to do with babies are the ones that make the news. Food recalls are also often sensationalized with long lists of lot numbers of various products being shared across the Internet.

The best approach to a recall is the calm approach. If you receive a notice of a product that you currently own, then you would be well served to follow the instructions to take care of that recall. This is why it helps to register your purchases. That might seem like a bother, but when you provide an email address to the manufacturer, they have a way of getting in touch with you.

With regard to an injury that occurred as the result of a recalled product, it makes sense to seek out experienced counsel. When a company acknowledges a problem in a product they sell, they could become liable for any injury that occurs because of that faulty product. Based on the sheer volume alone, recall fatigue is totally understandable. The key is not to succumb to that at the expense of your well-being.

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    Some great insight, since we hear about recalls from products we use, to products we eat on a daily basis.