KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
28th January 2021
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We have mail: Product recall made easy
Stephen Munton, the ex-electrical retailer who now heads up the Domestic Cleaning Alliance, writes in response to a leader in which I asked whether I'm naive to think that appliance sellers should be required to take the customer's contact details for inclusion on a national register, to aid product recall...
No, you are not naive in my opinion. With online purchasing being what it is now, names and addresses are being given out left, right, and centre, so it's surely a case that all the computer systems should talk to each other so that what is taken from the retailer gets sent straight to the manufacturer?
Goodness knows if I can stand in the bank paying in cash and get a text message to confirm the transaction before I have even said goodbye to the cashier, that proves how fast things can work.
"It was interesting to read the Bathroom Manufacturers Association's response to the Government's creation of a national body tasked with identifying consumer risks and managing responses to large-scale product recalls and repairs (see Soapbox, below).
"The new Office for Product Safety & Standards will help us meet safety challenges by responding to expanding international trade, the growth in online shopping and the increasing rate of product innovation. In addition to providing support for Trading Standards teams, it will co-ordinate work across local authorities where action is needed on a national scale and will ensure that the UK continues to carry out appropriate border checks on imported products once the UK leaves the EU. It will also work with the British Standards Institution to provide guidance on product recalls and corrective action, while conducting research into technological solutions to product marking and identification issues.
"An 'expert panel' will be created from trade associations, consumer and enforcement representatives, to advise on safety issues as they arise, and - interestingly - it will research consumer behaviour to identify the best way to get people to register their appliances.
"Am I naive in thinking that the best way of ensuring products are registered, is for anyone selling an appliance to be bound by law to take the customer's full contact details for inclusion on a national register? Yes, people move home, but rarely do they change mobile numbers and email addresses! Product recall/advice made easy...
"The BMA's Yvonne Orgill asks why, with so much legislation already in place, consumers are able to buy products that are unsafe or unfit for purpose.
Product safety never comes into question when I'm considering buying an electrical appliance. Yes, I'm aware of some of the dangers of some products because of what I've read in the news, but I look for something that fits the allocated space, looks good, has great reviews and as many of the functions I'd like, while still being affordable. I've never asked if something's safe... I expect it to be. But then I'd never by an appliance from a dodgy source and clearly some others do!
"Yvonne says that we as an industry could do more to make the consumer aware of the dangers of 'buying cheap' and I couldn't agree more. I also think we could do a lot more to educate consumers on how to look after and use their appliances more safely, as this is clearly an issue too..."
16th February 2018