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OPINION Lesley Rudd | Chief Executive, Electrical Safety First RECALLS:


Solutions to benefit business and consumers


16


A number of high-profile product recalls – and their often low success rates – are still hitting the headlines. And when consumer trust is lost, industry feels the impact on the bottom line. Here, Lesley Rudd, Chief Executive of consumer protection charity, Electrical Safety First, explains how it is working to provide product recall solutions that benefit both business and the consumer, including hosting a very important roundtable discussion in the House of Lords.


R


ecent years have highlighted the fault-lines in our product safety system. And the cost to both individuals and businesses. Early last year, we did some research on ‘the recall issue’ – why recall rates are so low. In a survey of 5,000 people in England and Wales, we discovered that less than half of these people had registered the last electrical appliance they purchased. And over half believe manufacturers want consumers to register for marketing purposes. Yet without product registration, manufacturers and retailers have enormous difficulty notifying consumers of a recalled product – sometimes with devastating consequences. To help address this, we recently hosted a roundtable on the subject in the House of Lords. Those attending were a diverse group, including parliamentarians, civil servants, charities and consumer organisations, as well as manufacturers


and retailers. Our purpose, as we develop proposals to improve consumer safety, was to get a range of views on compulsory, automatic registration at point of sale (POS) – and any barriers to its effective implementation.


We believe compulsory registration at point of sale offers the most effective solution to the problem of low recall rates and their accompanying risks to both consumers and business.


We believe compulsory registration at POS


offers the most effective solution to the problem of low recall rates and their accompanying risks to both consumers and business. There are precedents for this approach. Previously, TVs were automatically registered and cars, of course, are registered at POS. The latter might be considered acceptable because of the awareness


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