Recall programs for defective products are often announced on the news. What is deemed to be a defective product, however, may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Generally, though, what constitutes a defective product is usually specifically outlined in different laws designed to protect consumers. The manufacturers of defective products are also often held liable for the harm they may bring to people who come into contact with them.
The laws that determine whether or not something is a defective product are generally referred to as consumer protection laws. In the United States, these laws are enforced by the Federal Trade Commission.
There are a number of specific criteria that are used to determine whether or not a product is defective. Generally, the two most important of these criteria are whether or not a product is dangerous and whether or not it is fit for its intended use. However, there are other reasons why a product may be deemed defective. For example, a product may not come with proper instructions that allow a customer to learn how to properly use it.
There are many reasons why a product may be defective. Very often, defective products are the result of design flaws. This is usually the result of the company that designed the product not spending enough time and resources on research and development. Certain products may have been rushed through their development cycles to create quicker profits. As such, they may have not received the kind of testing needed to detect design flaws that made their way to the finished products.
Alternatively, a product may have received enough research and development. In fact, the prototypes may have worked perfectly and been completely safe. However, the problem may have come in during the manufacturing stage.
Due to incompetence or greed, the designs given to manufacturers may not have been followed as they should have been. For example, instead of using more expensive metal, a manufacturer may have opted for cheaper plastic for certain parts in a device. This plastic, however, may be too flimsy and result in the product being defective.
What can be done by a consumer after purchasing a defective product depends on the situation. If that consumer was not really harmed by a product, he or she can obtain a refund or replacement either through the store it was purchased at or possibly directly from the manufacturer.
In other cases, a consumer may have been seriously harmed by a faulty product. It may have physically harmed someone or even caused someone’s death. In other cases, a product may have caused great damage to a consumer’s property or created some kind of large financial burden. Whatever the case, one of the options available to consumers is to file a lawsuit.
A product liability lawsuit comes under the scope of tort law. For a tort to have occurred in this case, a consumer must have been harmed by a product and that harm must have created damages either in the form of physical injuries, monetary damages, or loss in quality of life.
However, there are certain limitations to the kinds of injuries one can use to win a product liability lawsuit. The product, for one, should have been used for something that is “reasonably foreseeable.” Unintended uses of a product that are not suggested by the manufacturer may not always be protected.