Defective products enter homes every day. Unfortunately, even companies who pride themselves on the highest of quality are not immune to releasing a product that could potentially cause a personal injury or kill someone. As careful as many consumers try to be, they are also not guaranteed a safe product. Defective products, sad to say, are a fact of life. Does this mean that we, as consumers, need to be OK with that? Of course not, but we can prevent the possibility of an incident in our own home by being a little more proactive and aware.
What is a Defective Product?
A defective product is simply something that doesn’t work the way it was intended to and can potentially result in the injury or death of an individual. Generally, there are three types of product defects: design, manufacturing, and marketing.
- Design Defect exists before the product is manufactured. For example, a piece of machinery could be missing an essential safeguard that was overlooked during the design process. If someone is injured while using this product, it could be blamed on a design defect.
- Manufacturing Defect occurs during the construction or production of the item. In many incidents relating to a manufacturing defect, only a small amount of the product (such as a batch) are deemed defective. Manufacturing defects are common and can include anything from automotive recalls, food products, and various products throughout the home.
- Marketing Defect is the failure to warn consumers of danger or having improper instructions. Most often, marketing defects are fixed shortly after the report of a design defect.
In some cases of a defective product, the product can be taken off of the market because it contains all three defects.
Defective Products: Dangerous for All Ages
Visit Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on a weekly basis and you will most likely see new recalls directly related to a design, manufacturing, or marketing flaw. CPSC’s mission is to alert consumers before anyone is injured or killed. In the case of many recalls, the defect was discovered before an incident occurred or reported. Any product can be defective, whether they are toys for a child or a simple over the counter medication. Here are just a few examples of defective products that really left a lasting impression on consumers of all ages:
- Bouncy Moon Houses: These inflatable amusement houses that have gained popularity in backyards and kid-centered events for years. Between 2003-2013, there were an estimated 113,272 ER treated injuries and 12 deaths associated with the inflatable homes.
- Tylenol: This common, over-the-counter pain reliever was forced to recall millions of product in 1982, when 7 people died after ingesting Extra-Strength Tylenol laced with potassium cyanide. In a “Top 10 Recalls” list released by Time, the tragic incident forced Tylenol to change packaging, resulting in a much safer product.
- Firestone Tires: In 2000, 6.5 million Firestone brand times were recalled after 175 deaths and more than 700 injuries, a defect related to manufacturing.
What if I have a Defective Product?
The best way to avoid purchasing a defective product is by paying attention to daily and weekly reports released by the CPSC. While they cannot guarantee “catching” every defect, their list is extensive and lifesaving.
If you suspect or know a product is defective, collect as much information as you can about the product (serial numbers, barcodes, descriptive information) and report it to saferproducts.gov Don’t become a statistic, help prevent defective products from entering homes.