A product recall is simply defined as a firm’s request to retrieve harmful, unhealthy or offensive products from their buyers or clients. A recall of a product may be made because of complaints from customers or self-discovery by the firm of the defective nature of the goods sold.

An example of a recall may be the request or notification from a car producing company to buyers of a particular model of a car after discovering that the engine had a quality defect. Recalls may be made to stop further harm to the buyers and the general public or as a preventive measure if the defect is discovered early enough. The product recall specifies the name of the product to be recalled along with the model number/name, serial number, a period of release, and some other product information supplied with the product.

A product recall is usually a public notice, published in newspapers and on the company’s website and sometimes announced over broadcast stations. There is usually compensation provided or full replacement of defective goods by the company making the recall.

The process and cost of the recall are usually lengthy and expensive, but a company may have to make a recall to save the corporate image and protect other products from being adversely affected and unduly suspected.

A company may be legally sanctioned for failure to recall or even sued for damage. It may also be compelled to make a recall of certain defective products by executive or court order. A product recall may or may not have an expiration date and the defective product may still be accepted and replaced even after expiration.


The procedures for a product recall depends on the local laws such as the consumer protection laws of a country but there are general guidelines for steps to be taken to recall a product from the hands of a buyer. Such procedures include:

  • Notice by the manufacturer to public or Government authorities on the grounds of recall and the affected product.
  • Notice by the government to buyers in the country on the defective good.
  • Publishing the notice of recall on the manufacturing company’s website and public relations media channels.
  • In some cases, it may require publishing a notice in the newspapers and an announcement over broadcast stations.
  • Consumer groups are also notified.
  • Refund, modification or replacement is given as reliefs to customers who returned the product.