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Learn what to do after a product recall

You purchased the latest widget sold by Acme Enterprises. It worked well for you for its intended purpose. You considered yourself a satisfied customer.

Out of the blue, you happen to read a report about a product recall of that very widget you bought. Despite the fact that you have never had any problems with your widget, you are uncertain what you should do next.

What does a product recall mean to consumers?

Products are recalled after there is an incident or indication that the product could potentially harm consumers who purchased and/or used the product. The manufacturer, retailer or a government agency like the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launches the recall that pulls products from shelves to protect the public from injury, damages or death.

But once the products are already in consumers' homes, these recalls alert them that they need to stop using the potentially dangerous products and return them for repairs, replacements or refunds.

How do you know if a product has been recalled?

Consumers often learn about recalls on the news or by notices sent out by the retailers and manufacturers. Other times, they may find out from websites set up to alert the public to the recalls.

In some cases, it's members of the public who sound the alarm that there is a problem with a particular product. People may have already been injured — or worse — due to defects in the design or problems with the manufacturing process of the particular product.

When your widget is more than wonky

In cases where a consumer experiences harm and/or adverse consequences from the intended use of a product they own and/or purchased, it is often best to contact the retailer and manufacturer directly. In many cases, satisfactory resolution can be achieved that way.

But sometimes consumers' efforts are for naught, as either their complaints are ignored, dismissed or otherwise unresolved. This is when it is necessary to delve deeper and learn about your consumer rights. You may be eligible to receive financial compensation for the damages and injuries that resulted from the intended use of the widget you bought.

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