Heads up consumer product companies. There’s something new in recall communications that may change expectations for everyone.
As you may have seen, appliance maker Mueller Austria has issued a joint news release with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that urges consumers to “immediately stop using select versions of Mueller Austria’s Onion Chopper Pro.” The pre-emptive announcement notes that Mueller Austria and CPSC are still negotiating an official recall, but says the firm wants to protect consumers in the meantime.
In addition, the release added that “the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has created a number of unforeseeable circumstances for Mueller Austria, and it remains uncertain when a remedy will become possible.”
We applaud this unprecedented action. In our experience, the reputational risk associated with announcing a recall so quickly is low. Usually, CPSC recalls are deemed “voluntary” and a company negotiates over days with the agency before they are announced. Too often, companies are perceived to have delayed their recalls and have issued them only under pressure of a “mandatory” recall and fines from the CPSC.
So what should you take away from this recent development?
We really are in a whole new world. It’s best we prepare for what that means not just for “business as usual” days, but also how it changes crisis and recall management.
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