Consumers Ignore Product Recalls


    Millions of unsafe home electrical products that could cause death or injury by fire or electrocution are in use in UK homes, warns new research by the Electrical Safety Council (ESC).

    The response to product recall warnings is pitifully low, as consumers appear indifferent to warnings of fire or electric shock, or underestimate the danger from the everyday electrical products.

    Seventy people a year are killed in the UK, and hundreds of thousands are injured, as a result of fires in cookers, fridges and tumble driers.

    According to the research, two million people have deliberately ignored product recall notices.

    A third of respondents find it too inconvenient to return faulty products, while a fifth refuse to forgo them.

    The ESC found that the average success rate of a typical product recall is a paltry 10 to 20%. Given the 266 electrical product recalls made in the last six years, and the fact that manufacturers often produce hundreds of thousands of each item, there are likely to be millions of dangerous products threatening safety every day.

    Recalled products have caused deaths, severe injury, and damage to property. The majority of recalls in 2012 for household appliances were because the items were at risk for catching fire or causing electrocution.

    The Daily Telegraph reports that almost half a million potentially dangerous dishwashers are still being used despite fire risks because owners cannot be traced.

   More than 600,000 faulty Bosch dishwashers, made over a seven-year period, are at risk of catching fire, but only one in four has been traced, despite a product alert by Bosch in July 2011.

    Hundreds of fires involving these dishwashers, with more than a dozen blazes deemed serious, have occurred over the last few years. Owners are urged to use the machines only under controlled situations and not to leave them unattended.

    The ESC is launching an online tool that will allow users to quickly and easily discover if they own an electrical product that has been recalled.

    The charity's Emma Apter said: "The small inconvenience of returning a recalled item is worth it when you consider that faulty products can electrocute or cause a fire.

    "We firmly believe that there is more that retailers and manufacturers can do to help ensure customers are aware when a product has been recalled, and what to do if they need to return an item."