The Latin saying caveat emptor has long served as a warning for consumers. The phrase means “let the buyer beware,” and it serves as a warning that those selling products are often unscrupulous and dishonest with others. Consumers often take for granted that the goods for sale are safe.
One of the many ways in which businesses can potentially harm customers is through the distribution of dangerous and defective products. Defective products put consumers at risk and may lead to both recalls of the dangerous products and injuries to those who purchase those items prior to a recall.
Consumers who understand product defects will have an easier time protecting themselves from them and taking appropriate action if they ever experience a defective product in action.
What are the main types of product defects?
There are several categories of product defects, and most major recalls will fall into one of these categories. Defective design is a common defect that involves a company failing to address potential safety concerns ahead of time. A toy designed for small children that has parts that could break off and become choking hazards would be an example of a product with a design-related defect.
Other times, there could be issues with materials or components. The item may be safe under ideal circumstances, but production issues mean there are safety concerns. A recent recall of Land Rovers related to improper frame welding is an example of this kind of product defect.
The third and final major category of product defects involves quality control failures. Not recognizing that a worker on the production line has failed to properly put together individual units or made other mistakes in the production process might mean that items that don’t meet the company’s standards and that are not safe for consumers and up in retail shops.
What happens after the discovery of a defect?
Businesses that discover a bad production batch or an issue with a product’s design will issue a recall. These recalls will have consumers bring the products back for replacement, repairs or refunds. While recalls can help limit an organization’s liability for defective products, they could still potentially end up responsible for the financial damages caused when the product fails.
Consumers may file lawsuits seeking medical expenses, lost wages and property damage expenses after product failures cause them injuries. Holding a business accountable for defective products can lead to financial support for those who have been harmed and consequences for any company responsible for that harm.