3 Tips for Reporting Defective Consumer Products

Vehicle or product not working right? Food items that seem “off” or might have been the cause of your or someone else’s illness? Here’s what to do!

  1. Start by contacting the appropriate agency (see links below). Each has a specific form and information required for reporting problems.
  2. Keep as much of the product packaging as possible, along with any sales receipts or other purchase information.
  3. In general, you’ll need the following kinds of information (although each agency has specific details):
    • Your name and contact information
    • Name, contact information, sex and age of the person affected (aka “victim”)
    • The date and location of incident
    • Description of incident or hazard, including description of injuries
    • Product brand name/manufacturer and all available contact information
    • Product make, model, serial number, and date of manufacture or date code if available
    • Date and place of purchase

WHN TIP – Food the Problem? Be sure to report it! If the problem involves food, the FDA recommends also reporting the problem to the manufacturer or distributor shown on the label and to the store where you purchased the product. Be sure to keep the product, refrigerating or freezing it if necessary.

Where to go for recall information or to report a problem:

  1. Recalls.gov
    U.S. government recalls from six major federal agencies including:
  2. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
    Reviews potential problems from more than 15,000 types of consumer products.
  3. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
    Recalls about and problems with motor vehicles, child safety devices, tires, etc.
  4. U.S. Coast Guard
    Defects on boats made or imported into the United States.
  5. U.S. Food and Drug Administration
    Product actions of the last 60 days, based on distribution and degree of health risk.
  6. Food Safety and Inspection Service
    Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, monitoring meat, poultry, and eggs.
  7. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Monitoring potential problems caused by pesticides.