If you buy a product that is later recalled, state and federal laws may protect you. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalls unsafe products. The CPSC has a list of recalled products on its website. You can also sign up for recall alerts at www.cpsc.gov. Sometimes, manufacturers will recall their own products before the CPSC does.
If a product is unsafe or does not work as intended or expected, it will issue a recall order. A recall order is a notice that describes the product. It will include the name of the product and the model number. It will also contain a picture of the product and describe the reason for the recall. The manufacturer then must notify consumers and retail stores about the recall.
If you own a product the CPSC has recalled, you should stop using it immediately. Contact the seller or manufacturer to get a refund, replacement or repair. Some recalls ban the sale of the item, while others tell you to return the item for a replacement or repair.
Under federal law, it is illegal to sell certain products the CPSC has recalled by the CPSC. This law may even apply to products sold at a garage sale or a second-hand store. The law also covers products intended for children that contain lead paint. The penalties for selling recalled products can be severe, from $100,000 to $15,000,000.
New York has a law known as the Children’s Product Safety and Recall Effectiveness Act. This law prohibits the sale of recalled children’s products. The law covers retailers, secondhand dealers, manufacturers, importers and websites such as eBay. If a retailer receives a recall notice on a children’s product, it must stop selling it within 24 hours. Retailers must also post a recall or warning notice for at least 60 days in any location that sold the item. Manufacturers must provide notice to all known retailers of the product. They must also provide notice to the public at large. All children’s products must include a product owner’s safety card. You should return this card to the manufacturer after you buy the product. If you do, the manufacturers must directly notify you of any recalls.
Legal Editors: Mark Grossman, Esq. and C. Jaye Berger, Esq., May 2018
Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service with the help and assistance of volunteer legal editors, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or to substitute for the advice of a lawyer.