Did you hear something on the news about a recall and wondered if it applied to you? Now it’s easy to check online using the Product Recalls database. When a supplier finds a safety-related defect in one of their products they may decide to issue a safety recall. They might contact owners of the product by letter or through advertising, but now you can also proactively search on the Product Recalls database.
Product recalls database
The Product Recalls database lists all of the known recalls of consumer products (except for food - recalled food products are listed on the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Food Recalls database).
Here you’ll find information about recalled motor vehicles, furniture, appliances, gardening equipment, strollers and toys (just to name a few), such as what the problem is, what you should do if something you own is on the list, and who to contact if you have questions about the recall.
They also list product safety alerts - warnings about new and emerging safety issues for products that have not been recalled, or not been recalled yet.
What should I do if I have found that something I own has been recalled?
If you own something that has been recalled then the first step is to read any specific advice about that product. For example it will probably advise that you stop using the product, return the product to the shop and ask for a refund. It should also provide contact details you can use if you have questions about the matter, or advise if you can expect to be notified directly by the manufacturer.
What can I do if the retailer won’t give me a refund for returning a recalled product that I bought from them?
If the product has been recalled you could show the retailer the relevant information you found on the recalls database, in case they are unaware of this. Where a product has been recalled, the retailer is generally required to give you a full refund when you return the item. If they won’t, you can notify the manufacturer (their contact details will be on the database).
You could also contact the appropriate government agency or use the Issue notification form on the Product Recalls website.
More about what to do if you have problems with a recalled product is on the Product Recalls website.
What should I do if I have a safety concern about a product that hasn’t been recalled?
You may be able to return the product to the retailer and get a refund. Under the Consumer Guarantees Act, consumer goods that you buy from a trader must be of an acceptable quality and fit for purpose. Certain types of products (such as products for children) are also required to meet product safety standards under the Fair Trading Act.
If you and the retailer cannot agree on the matter you can apply to the Dispute Tribunal for a decision. More about dealing with unsafe goods is on our Unsafe goods page.
If the product has caused or nearly caused an injury, you can also notify the appropriate government agency or use the Issue notification form on the Product Recalls website.
If your concern is about a food product you can contact the retailer or manufacturer about it. You could also contact the Ministry of Primary Industries (on 0800 00 83 33 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org). More information about food safety issues is on our Food health & safety page.