One of the things which can cause disasters is when things are made improperly or have a fault which becomes apparent only after a number of units are made and sold.  Last fall, for example, General Electric appliances announced a voluntary recall on one of their front loading washers due to a fire hazard.

This recall occurred after a number of house fires, three of which cost over $125,000 in damage. While this doesn’t see like an extraordinary amount of money after the 222,000 washers the company sold, it’s a matter of perspective. To the homeowners, having a portion of their home burn to the ground (not to mention the water damage, potential for mold, and other destruction), this was a life-upending ordeal resulting not only in fire, but also in water damage, water removal, mold removal, and, in some cases, extensive restoration.

People who are displaced are forced to live in hotels, or, sometimes even worse, in the homes of friends or relatives. Their day-to-day existence becomes a matter of endurance and survival. Many are in shock or become depressed or angry.

The point of this is that keeping an eye on recalls (Although one admits, it’s not for the faint of heart), a proactive consumer has a way to keep informed and potentially avoid a personal catastrophe.

So, how does consumer hear about recalls? These are a few of the more common methods:

News broadcasts will often review recall efforts by companies through press releases or interviews with company spokespeople. 

Car recall information ican be found through Carfax.

Takata had the largest recall ever due to dangerous airbags. We want to know if there is such a thing as a safe airbag!

Takata had the largest recall ever due to dangerous airbags. We want to know if there is such a thing as a safe airbag!

Online--consumers can go to to see if they own any of the products listed.

Stores where the items were purchased. Oftentimes retail outlets will post notices of recalls of items sold in their store. Since consumers are creatures of habit, they tend to shop at the same stores again and again, thereby increasing the chances that they’ll see a recall notice.

Letter of notification from the manufacturer. This will only apply to the original owners, although if they sold the item and remember who bought it, they may pass the information along to the new owner.

Accidents and mishaps will sometimes happen, however, when the fault is squarely in the lap of the company, having a recall is the best and most proactive way for a company to make things ‘right’. As a consumer, it’s important to be alert for and respond to recalls and follow the instructions given. In this way, we can all work together to make the world a better place.