Increase in product recalls means consumers can’t rely on big brand names for quality

Following the latest fire caused by a faulty Samsung washing machine, consumer advocacy group CHOICE is reminding Australians to check the product recalls website and return any dodgy products for a full refund.

“With the number of product recalls increasing 14% last year consumers need to remain vigilant about what products they put in their homes or park in their garages,” says CHOICE Head of Media Tom Godfrey.

“We are seeing a steady stream of shonky big brand products being pulled from the market – from Nanna’s berries and BMWs to Samsung washing machines and Goodman Fielder garlic bread. It’s clear that consumers can’t rely on brands as a measure of quality.”

“The rising rate of recalls underscores the need for shoppers to look past the branding, advertising and marketing and make an assessment of quality when buying products,” says Mr Godfrey.

“We know through our product testing that there are often significant differences in the performance of products and price is not always a great guide.”

“The latest recalls read like a script from a Hollywood horror film – exploding airbags, washing machines that burst into flames and garlic bread containing pieces of metal. The fact is product recalls can be a matter of life and death and the recent trend should be alarming for all consumers.”

“It’s also concerning that the rates of returns for potentially deadly products are not higher, with both the Samsung washing machine and Infinity electrical cable recalls not resulting in sufficiently high return rates.”

“As we have seen with the latest Samsung washing machine fire, it often takes a serious incident before the recall message receives enough attention.”

“It’s very concerning that something like poor quality electrical cables are lurking in our homes with the long term risk of electrical shock or fire ever present. With only 5 per cent of the recalled Infinity cables being remedied, unless a house fire occurs most home owners will be unaware of the potential danger until it’s too late.”

“It’s often the case that a product recall will go by unnoticed by most consumers unless there is a well publicised injury or health issue as we saw with the recent frozen berries fiasco.”

This latest incident is a timely reminder for consumers to check the recalls website and register for the ACCC’s free product recall alerts. CHOICE members who are struggle to obtain a refund can also access the CHOICE Help service