Learn about prod­uct re­calls for safe hol­i­day giv­ing

Maryland Independent - - Think Local - Metro Cre­ative Con­nec­tion

Shop­ping for the per­fect gift and then hid­ing it un­der the tree adds to the ex­cite­ment of the hol­i­day sea­son. Know­ing the re­cip­i­ent will dis­play a big smile when tear­ing away the wrap­ping pa­per makes gift givers feel good. Each year, cer­tain gifts emerge as trendy crowd fa­vorites. How­ever, no mat­ter how cov­eted a gift may be, it pays to in­ves­ti­gate its rep­u­ta­tion for safety and to find out if any prod­uct re­calls have been in­sti­tuted. The hov­er­board craze of the 2015 hol­i­day sea­son pro­vided a re­cent ex­am­ple of the need to in­ves­ti­gate an item’s rep­u­ta­tion for safety. Thou­sands upon thou­sands of these de­vices flew off of the shelves. Chil­dren across the coun­try took their hov­er­boards for test runs early Christ­mas morn­ing. Yet many hov­er­boards soon ig­nited while charg­ing or in op­er­a­tion. Some even ig­nited while sit­ting idle. As of July 2016, the U.S. Con­sumer Prod­uct Safety Com­mis­sion in­di­cated at least 60 re­ports of hov­er­board fires to­tal­ing more than $2 mil­lion in prop­erty dam­age. Sim­i­lar prob­lems arose with cer­tain Sam­sung Galaxy Note 7 phones in late 2016. The phone was re­called of­fi­cially in the United States through Sam­sung, and the com­pany launched ex­change pro­grams in other coun­tries. Even re­place­ment mod­els con­tin­ued to have prob­lems, as some caught on fire in early Oc­to­ber. Sam­sung ul­ti­mately told Note 7 own­ers to stop us­ing the phones and re­turn them be­fore per­ma­nently dis­con­tin­u­ing the prod­uct. Shortly there­after, the U.S. CPSC of­fi­cially is­sued a sec­ond re­call. Those are just two in­stances of how prod­ucts that might have made great hol­i­day gifts posed safety is­sues. Con­sumers should learn how they can pro­tect them­selves and oth­ers from in­jury, even when giv­ing hol­i­day gifts. Search­ing for prod­uct re­calls is one way to safe­guard loved ones this hol­i­day sea­son. Read­ing prod­uct re­views from pre­vi­ous cus­tomers is an­other ef­fec­tive safety mea­sure. A re­call is an ac­tion taken by a man­u­fac­turer or the gov­ern­ment. Some re­calls will ban the sale of an item, while oth­ers re­quire the con­sumer to re­turn the item for re­pair or re­place­ment. The U.S. gov­ern­ment rec­om­mends vis­it­ing these web­sites to find the lat­est safety re­calls and in­for­ma­tion on items that may turn up on hol­i­day wish lists. • Re­calls.com posts gov­ern­ment-ini­ti­ated re­calls from fed­eral agen­cies. • Safer­car.gov of­fers safety in­for­ma­tion on ve­hi­cles and car equip­ment, such as chil­dren’s safety seats. • Safer­Prod­ucts.gov en­ables con­sumers to re­port in­ci­dents and safety con­cerns with re­gard to con­sumer prod­ucts. • Cpsc.gov/Re­calls/ in­cludes re­calls pub­lished by the U.S. Con­sumer Prod­uct Safety Com­mis­sion. The hol­i­days should be a safe and happy time. To en­sure the sea­son stays safe and happy, con­sumers should fa­mil­iar­ize them­selves with any prod­uct re­calls or pub­lished safety haz­ards prior to shop­ping for gifts.

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