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Product Recall - Handling the Fallout

When a product starts to fail in use or has a latent defect a complex web of information and advice needs to be obtained and decisions taken.

The decisions taken will have a direct effect on the cost of correction, recovery from third parties, brand damage and, as importantly, regulatory/criminal exposure.  They are best mapped out in advance in a crisis plan.  In any event they need to be considered in a structured way when the issue arises.

A variety of standardised FOC materials to help with these issues are available on links from this website  page.

A more comprehensive set of materials including a template recall/ crisis handling document is available to manufacturers and distributors on request as an extranet from 01132255457 or email .

Key issues are:

  • What is the cause and effect of the defect?  
  • What products /batches are affected?
  • How likely is the defect to be present in a particular unit? 
  • Is the defect a safety issue?
  • How severe is the safety risk? 
  • Whether commercially and legally you are responsible
  • Whether you can recover losses from upstream suppliers
  • Whether commercially and legally you:

 - Can do nothing
 - Must Notify regulators
 - Must issue a warning
 - Must implement a recall or rectification programme 

  • Whether you are insured for some or all of the cost 
  • Establishing procedures to implement and control any recall and to document any upstream claim
  • Establishing a communication strategy to  minimise brand damage 
  • Dealing with any regulatory enquiries and investigations

Pinsent Masons' Product Liability Team have advised on all of these issues and have wide experience in prosecuting and defending large scale product liability claims involving the project management of large teams, large document loads and demanding technical issues.

Our services are joined up, marrying legal recovery, in-house forensic accounting, claims handling advice, regulatory advice and interfaces to public relations advice.  It is this experience and approach that ensures that these difficult situations are optimised for our clients.

Pinsent Masons deploys its award winning Reaching Solutions methodology.  This identifies tasks, resources and timescales presenting them via gant charts and develops options and choice evaluation through the use of decision trees.  The aim is to put the client in the driving seat with a clear view of issues, options, risks and outcomes.

Example Experience

Pinsent Masons has handled recall issues in diverse areas for example:- salt; toothpaste additive; UPVC windows; window stays; circuit breakers; micro processors; cheese wrappings; compressors; CO detectors; Tyres; Toys; Chimney Flues; Set top boxes; Mobile Transmitters.

Key Contacts