Improving Electrical Product Safety

Improving Electrical Product Safety

In the UK, the response rate to an electrical product recall is worryingly low, largely due to people failing to register their appliances, meaning that manufacturers do not know where the affected products are located. This means that there are potentially millions of recalled electrical items still in UK homes.

Whilst press advertising and displays in retail locations do encourage action, the most powerful way to improve recalls is through direct contact – by email, mail shot or phone call. This currently requires consumers to register their products when they get home – either by filling out a registration card and posting it to the manufacturer, or going online to register the product – something that is very rarely done.

Electrical Safety First believes that the automatic registration of domestic appliances at the point of sale has the potential to substantially improve recall rates, to the benefit of consumer, retailer and manufacturer.

The current regime governing product recalls in the UK is at best piecemeal. The Government continues to argue that existing legislation (namely, the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (GPSR)) and light-touch guidance are sufficient to encourage best practice.

Given the number of high-profile fires and other accidents caused by electrical appliances that should have been removed entirely from homes and the marketplace, there is a very strong case for Government action to reinforce consumer rights regarding product recalls.

Furthermore, the market for second hand goods is largely unregulated online, which means that second hand white goods can often be sold between consumers even though they have been subject to a recall notice. 

A new group, Improving Product Registration and Recall (IPRR), has been set up to look at how registration and recall rates can be improved, working across the sector.

Our proposals 

  • Compulsory registration at the point of sale for all white goods in the UK.
  • Introduction of a more efficient product recall system where manufacturers and retailers work together to encourage consumers to register their products at the point of purchase, but above all simplify the process.
  • A review of how local government, who are responsible for electrical goods recalls, are able to manage recalls given the lack of funding for trading standards services.
  • The creation of a dedicated government site, similar to the one in the United States, which centralises all information on product recalls and where consumers can report concerns and obtain advice.
  • More legislation to improve product recall powers and product safety, such as a ban on the resale of second hand white goods which have been subject to a recall notice.
  • Increase the rate of product registration by preventing companies from using this key safety process as a marketing opportunity for their future products.


Download our Reports

Consumer Voices on Product Recall (November 2014)

Electrical Safety First is leading the campaign for improvement to the product recall system. We believe that it is vital to understand what motivates a consumer to act on - or ignore - a recall notice. Our report analyses consumer feedback and makes recommendations for change.

Hot Bargains Killer Deals - The problems with second hand electrical goods (June 2018)

The market for second-hand electrical bargains is booming, fueled by austerity, environmental concerns and the ease of buying online. However, these appliances can present serious safety risks. Our report investigates the attitudes of buyers and sellers of second-hand electrical products and makes recommendations to improve consumer protection.