My last blog pointed out that safety and health products are, all too often, deceptively dangerous. In combination with automobiles, the US has had a total of more than fifty million faulty products recalled in just the first 7 months of this year. That’s more than 200,000 a day! How can anyone say this is not a defective products crisis?
Some would view this as a sign that our system is broken. Others might view it as a sign that things are getting better – after all, fifty million hazardous products are off the streets, right? Either way, the common thread is that consumer complaints were the impetus that forced manufacturers’ hands. When smart shoppers raise their collective voices and demand safe, quality products, big businesses have no choice but to listen.
Many of this year’s recalls were due to products not meeting expectations or merely creating a potential for personal injury. Still, dissatisfied consumers took the time to report their concerns, laying the foundation for future complaints from others one at a time so that a pattern could develop. Most will never receive financial compensation. They will never see how their quiet voice started the momentum that may have alerted the authorities or the manufacturer to a danger. Nevertheless, they made their concerns known and became part of the solution, perhaps preventing someone else’s injury.
In my 30 years as a personal injury attorney, I’ve handled thousands of cases. Each one has its hero: the scientist who was a bit more diligent, the administrator with a penchant for taking notes, the nurse who was unafraid to speak the truth, or the doctor who cared for his patients more than the drug companies. 2014 is the year for the consumer hero. I applaud those who made their voices heard by documenting defective products, filing thorough complaints, and then not giving up.
Consumers have it within their power and their rights to demand safer, healthier, more effective products. Contact the appropriate authorities using the information below, and your complaint will be added to a consumer safety database. Do you have one to add or have a question about where a product fits in the list below? Contact me using our convenient online form. Consumer safety is everyone’s concern, and it is a community effort. Each person who remains silent adds to the problem, while those who demand better, safer, and more effective products contribute to the solution. You can make a difference!
It is never easy to file a formal complaint, but it is worth it. If you cannot find what you need below, check out the new “Consumer Corner” on my website’s home page, or feel free to contact me directly.
BAD CONSUMER PRODUCTS: Contact the Consumer Products Safety Commission for bad consumer products at (800) 638-2772 or at saferproducts.gov.
BAD DRUGS AND MEDICAL DEVICES: Contact the Food and Drug Administration for bad drugs or devices at 1-800-FDA-1088 or online at fda.gov.
BAD ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTERS: Report environmental polluters to the Environmental Protection Agency on their website epa.gov. For an emergency including oil or chemical spills you can contact the National Response Center at (800)-424-8802.
BAD CARS AND TRUCKS: Report bad cars, trucks, and equipment through the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration at (888) 327-4236.When filing a vehicle complaint, you can submit an online form to NHTSA ONLINE, or for problems with equipment you can file an online form at NHTSA FORM.
My next blog (coming soon): “Wonder if it’s worth complaining? How seven complaints in Fargo, North Dakota resulted in the largest and most expensive bad drug disaster and product recall in American history.”