A Checklist for Product Recalls

If your company is involved in a product recall, there are certain federal regulations that must be followed. But in addition to complying with the law, a well-handled recall can help ensure customers trust your company and its products in the future.

As an example of a company that engages in good business practices, Nordstrom has been cited by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). In one incident, a customer called Nordstrom to inquire about returning a sweatshirt because her child choked on the zipper pull. The retailer immediately notified all store managers by e-mail to pull the sweatshirts from the floor. A report was quickly filed with the CPSC via the Internet. Nordstrom also promptly announced to consumers the hazard and its offer to exchange the sweatshirt or provide a full refund using a press release, video news release, newspaper advertisements and in-store posters.

Every recall is different, depending on the product and its defect. Below is a checklist of actions to take in a recall, adapted from information from the CPSC. A company may not have to take all of these actions. The recalling firm works with the CPSC to determine what is appropriate.

The main objective of the actions on the checklist is to reach as many owners of the recalled products as possible and to make the remedy easy for consumers so it encourages them to act.

Recall Checklist

Consumer Notice

"Consumers no longer view product recalls in a negative light. Millions of products have been recalled ... How well a company conducts a timely, reasonable recall of a product can have a strong influence on consumers' attitude about the firm. Successful product recalls in the past have rewarded companies with continuing consumer support and demand for the firms' products." -- The Consumer Product Safety Commission

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