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Home » News & Events » 2017 » February » Nearly three quarters of consumers risk missing dangerous product recalls

Nearly three quarters of consumers risk missing dangerous product recalls

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Only 23 % of people always register electrical appliances.

Research undertaken by Electrical Safety First shows that many British consumers could be taking dangerous risks in their homes by not registering their electrical products. Despite a number of high profile safety notices and product recalls* issued during the last year, nearly three quarters of British consumers say that they don't always register their electrical appliances. Furthermore, the research shows that three in ten consumers never register electrical products.

In 2016 alone, there were 61 recall notices issued for electrical products in the UK, which means there were millions of potentially dangerous products in UK homes. Registering an electrical product allows manufacturers to contact consumers directly in case of a safety concern, such as a product recall. Without registering, millions of British consumers could be unwittingly putting their lives at risk if they continue to use a dangerous recalled product.

The reasons why three quarters of people are not always registering vary from "It's too much hassle," to "I meant to but I forgot" and "I don't think it would have any benefits". Many consumers seem to be put off by the thought of registration, with more than one in three preferring to do household chores such as ironing or taking out the bins rather than register their large appliance online.

Only one third of consumers said they feel it is risky not to register a tumble dryer, but in the last year alone over five million potentially dangerous tumble dryers have been recalled in the UK alone.

Given the numbers of people not registering their appliances, it's no surprise that the success rate of recalls is low. Previous research undertaken by Electrical Safety First show that the success rate is rarely more than 10% to 20%, despite the huge risks of electrical shock, fire or even death that faulty electrical items can present.

Low registration levels may not be the only reason for a low response rate for recalls. One third of consumers said that they would continue to use a washing machine, even after it had been recalled. Of those who would continue using a recalled machine, one third said that they would use it if it continued to work properly and one third said that it would be too much hassle to go without. One in seven would continue to use it if they hadn't heard of a serious incident of fire or shock.

Martin Squires had just put his son to bed one evening in July 2014 when he discovered a fire in his kitchen. Flames came out of his dishwasher control panel, which was surrounded by thick smoke. Thankfully, he knew to isolate the electrics, turn off the water and put out the flames.

As an electrician, Martin knew what happened should not have happened. In the days following, his own research into his dishwasher turned up a few more similar cases happening to other people. It took a few months before the manufacturer issued a recall.

Since 2014, he watches product recalls very closely.

'I understand that unforeseen problems can occur in life and I prefer to purchase from a retailer that acts quickly if things do go wrong, it gives me confidence that I would be contacted. This is why I now register with the manufacturers, trusting they would alert me.'

Since then, he's had two other electrical items under a product recall, but says if he didn't keep track of them, he may not have known about products in his home were a risk.

'One of the further recalled products I had purchased was through Amazon, because they had my contact details they emailed me promptly and sent me details of how to replace my affected item. This was promptly posted out to me with no fuss. I appreciated this because the faulty product was my 9 year old son's, I dread to think what could have happened if they didn't have my details.'

Emma Drackford, Head of Communications at Electrical Safety First said:

'An unregistered appliance can be a hidden danger in your home as it's difficult for manufacturers to trace them if there are any safety issues. Over the last year we have seen recalls which have affected millions of people, from lithium battery powered phones to large white goods.

'We're urging people to take control of their safety and make it a habit to register a new product as soon as they get it home. It only takes minutes to do, and will give you and the rest of your family peace of mind that you will be notified if a dangerous product is in your home.'

To check if an electrical item has been recalled visit: electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/recall

and to register an appliance, visit: www.registermyappliance.org.uk/