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CPSC Requesting Direct Recall Notice Information

As we mentioned in our first blog of 2018, The Future of Recalls, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) held a workshop on how to improve recall effectiveness. In the report that followed that event, the CPSC stated that recalls with direct notifications have proven most effective. According to the agency, recall alerts, which require the recalling company to demonstrate the ability to reach 95% of affected consumers through direct notification, have a response rate of about 50 percent. For press releases, the rate is just six percent.  Now, the agency is requesting information on current direct notification methods.

The questions in the Federal Register notice cover a number of details regarding direct notifications and product registration, including:

  • Available methods, such as email and text messages
  • E-commerce and third party retailer notifications
  • Associated costs
  • Challenges, including technology, privacy, and security
  • How direct contact information is collected
  • Product registration participation rates

There is also a set of questions on targeted notices, which the CPSC defines as “a notice aimed at a particular group of likely affected consumers, but not at a known purchaser or consumer…” Examples include targeted search engine ads and paid social media.

While most of the questions are aimed at recalling firms, the CPSC is also looking for feedback from consumers and other stakeholders.

With the agency continuing its focus on improving recall effectiveness, now is a good time for manufacturers to be proactive in their efforts by reviewing their product registration methods and recall plans. In addition to direct notifications, there are other actions that can improve response rates. Some that have proven successful in the past include:

  • Adding a small incentive, such as an accessory to go with the replacement product or a coupon for a future purchase to go along with a refund. These have the added bonus of boosting loyalty at a time when the brand is vulnerable. 
  • Using clear language – avoiding legal or corporate jargon that can confuse everyday consumers.
  • Making it as easy as possible to respond with a dedicated recall website and hotline, ensuring the contact center is fully staffed with specially trained agents.

To contribute to the CPSC’s request for information, submit comments by September 5, 2018.

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