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How to Protect Yourself from Defective Products

In a perfect world, all products would perform as expected, and no products would be defective or harmful. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world, and defective products are all too common.

From cars with defective airbags to baby strollers with defective latches, plenty of products put the public in harm’s way. If you have ever made a purchase, you could be at risk. Taking a proactive approach to product safety is the best way to protect yourself and the ones you love.

Check the Recall Board Every Time You Shop

Retailers are required by law to notify customers of product recalls, but it is not always feasible to track down individual buyers. As an alternative, many stores post recall notices in conspicuous spots in their stores, often at or near the customer service desk or layaway area.

Get in the habit of checking the recall board every time you shop. Note the descriptions and product numbers of any recalled products you may own, and check your products as soon as you return home. If you are unsure of the recall status, take the product back to the store and let them check it.

Use Caution When Buying Used Products

Buying used products instead of new ones can save you a lot of money. Whether you are buying furniture for your home, video games for your kids or clothing for your family, the cost of a quality used product can be as much as 90% less than the price of a similar item when bought brand new.

While the cost savings associated with buying used are significant, it is important to exercise caution. It is not unusual for products with outstanding recall notices to be on the shelves of thrift shops, flea markets and other used product venues. If you are not careful, you could end up with a safety risk instead of a bargain.

The best way to protect yourself is to know what you are buying and understand the inherent risks. There might not be much risk associated with buying last year’s winter coat, but buying a used car seat could have significant risks. Sometimes it is best to spend a bit more and buy new, especially if the safety of your child is on the line.

Check the Recall History

If you already have used products in your home, you can check their recall status and give yourself peace of mind. You can start your search at recall.gov, the central clearinghouse set up by the Federal government to track recalled products and provide further information.

It is a good idea to check recall.gov on a regular basis, even if you have not purchased any additional products recently. You can find information on new recalls, including products you may have purchased some time ago.

Defective products and product liability are major issues in the modern world. While manufacturers try their best to provide safe products for their customers, sometimes deficiencies arise after the fact. Knowing what to look for and being a proactive consumer are two of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from harm.

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