How Secrecy in Courts Affects Product Safety Regulation
Congresswoman Grace Meng of New York has introduced new legislation that would require businesses to strengthen and streamline the manner in which they notify consumers about product safety recalls. According to a news report, the Total Recall Act would step up notifications for all types of recalls by requiring companies to post recall notices on not just their websites, but all social media accounts. Currently, the average response rate of consumers to most recalls is only between 4% and 18%, which means millions of consumers still have dangerous and defective products in their homes.
What the Proposed Law Will Do
Meng says busy parents and consumers can’t be expected to consistently check for possible problems every time they purchase a product. If a company sells a dangerous or defective product, she says, they have the responsibility to get the message to the consumer. They should market the recall as aggressively as they marketed the sale of the product, Meng rightly says.
Under the Congresswoman’s proposed legislation, for a mandatory recall, businesses would be required to notify the public by spending at least 25% of the money they used to traditionally market the product. For a voluntary recall and settlement, companies would be urged to notify consumers by using at least 25% of the product’s original marketing budget and 100% of the social media marketing budget. This bill will also require the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to provide an annual report to Congress on participation rates for each product safety recall.
Putting Consumers’ Safety First
As product defect lawyers who represent the rights of injured consumers and families of those who have been killed by defective products, we absolutely agree with the premise of this bill. Families not only unknowingly continue to use these dangerous products, but these defective items also make their way to the used market where they are further sold to consumers who know nothing about the safety recalls or the dangers these products pose.
It is irresponsible and negligent on the part of companies to not allocate sufficient resources to get the word out about safety recalls in this age of social media marketing. A recall is simply not effective if consumers don’t hear about it.