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High Profile Electrical Recalls Just The Tip Of The Iceberg

High profile electrical recalls are just the tip of the iceberg: millions of dangerous products are in circulation with consumers reporting indifference.


Electrical Safety Council calculations reveal shockingly low response to product recalls, with consumer indifference to danger and reluctance to part with products feeding low recall.

- Products, such as those from Beko recalled because of fire risk represent just one small part of the product recall issue
- The Electrical Safety Council launches online tool for consumers to quickly and easily check the safety of their electrical products - the most comprehensive source of electrical recall information available  -
- The charity warns that millions of recalled products from a variety of manufacturers remain in UK homes, yet consumers are indifferent to the potential danger
- Recalled products can be lethal. Last year the reason for the recall of the majority of household appliances was the risk of fire or electrocution
- Two million adults(i) have purposefully ignored a product recall notice, a third(ii) wont return an item if it seems too inconvenient and a fifth(iii) would not go without a luxury product such as a television or hair straighteners

Millions of potentially dangerous recalled electrical products are thought to remain in UK homes due to a worryingly low recall success rate, the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) has warned today.

The charity found that the average success rate is just 10-20%(iv). With 266 electrical product recalls in the last six years and manufacturers often producing hundreds of thousands of units, there are likely to be millions of dangerous products threatening safety every day.

New ESC research shows that consumer indifference and an underestimation of danger are big factors in ineffective product recall. Nearly two million adults(v) have knowingly ignored a recall notice before, with a further one million admitting to currently owning an electrical item that has been recalled(vi). Many consumers would jeopardise their safety if sending back a recalled product was too inconvenient or meant going without a luxury item such as a television or hair straighteners(vii).

This low perception of danger contrasts with the reality - recalled products have been known to cause severe injury and deaths, and the majority of recalls last year for household appliances were because the items were at risk of catching fire or causing electrocution(viii).

The ESC is launching an online tool that will allow users to quickly and easily discover if they own an electrical product that has been recalled. It can be found at, and will ask users to enter a model number, brand name or description of a particular item, and if the product has been recalled, will advise on next steps.

The ESC hopes that the device, the most comprehensive available, will help the large percentage of adults who dont know where to find information on recalled electrical products, or the appropriate action that they need to take(ix).

Emma Apter from the Electrical Safety Council said:

’’We know that returning a recalled product is not always convenient, especially if its an item that you use every day, but recall notices are issued to keep consumers safe. The small inconvenience of returning a recalled item is worth it when you consider that faulty products can electrocute or cause a fire.

’’We firmly believe that there is more that retailers and manufacturers can do to help ensure customers are aware when a product has been recalled, and what to do if they need to return an item. Whilst the new tool will make it easier to find out information, we will also be working closely with all parties throughout the year to find ways of improving recall rates’’.

Andy Reynolds, CFOA Lead on Electrical Safety added:

’’CFOA is delighted to be supporting the ESC Campaign which is aiming to improve the rate of recalled products that are returned to their manufacturer. We believe this immensely important campaign could help to reduce the number of accidental domestic fires we currently have in the UK, which the latest statistics suggest is in the region of 37,845.

’’If the public were educated to look out for product recalls and return any faulty goods, we believe this would reduce call outs, injuries and ultimately save lives.’’

To check the safety of your electrical products, go to

3% of adults, based on UK population of 63.2 million as per Census 2011

[ii] 32% of adults

[iii] 17% of adults

[iv] Information taken from ESC report on Appliance Safety

[v] 3% of adults, based on UK population of 63.2 million as per Census 2011

[vi] 1.3 million, based 2% of UK population

[vii] 32% of adults think sending back a recalled product is too inconvenient, and 17% would consider keeping a recalled product if it meant going without a luxury product such as a television or hair straighteners

[viii] Recall UK Annual Product Recall Report 2012,

[ix] 40% of adults dont know where to find information on recalled products; 28% dont know how to return a recalled product


 electrical safety
 product recalls
 recalled products

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