By Paul Hayes
SYDNEY, NSW: The current system for product recalls is insufficient and may be placing consumers at risk, according to independent consumer advocacy group, Choice.
“Thousands of people are injured every year, so there certainly are (risks),” said Choice media spokesperson, Christopher Zinn.
Zinn believes that traditional product recall announcements through the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) product safety website and newspaper advertising is not a wide enough net and leads to a relatively low uptake among consumers.
“It is very hard to engage people,” he said.
“In terms of what appears, there is not a great deal of information as to what might go wrong or where it might go wrong. We think that there is scope for more comprehensive information on the notices.”
For its part, the ACCC has conceded that not enough people are getting product recall notices and that other avenues may have to be explored.
To that end, the consumer watchdog plans to release a report later in the year outlining potential changes to the system, including the possibility of using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
In the meantime, the ACCC this week launched a new website, Product Safety Australia, designed to better streamline consumer access to information about product alerts and recalls.
Regardless of the form of communication, Zinn argues that product safety is an issue that needs to be heeded by both manufactures and consumers.
“Even in our increasingly digital world people still fall off ladders, nightwear still catches fire and people still get hurt by things like that.
“It is an ongoing concern.”