Skip to main content

Total recall: What to do when your products need to go back

If a product you make or sell needs to be taken off the market because it is potentially dangerous, what must you do? Time is of the essence — to quickly recall your product, stop others from getting hurt and to maintain your reputation with customers and clients.

With the launch of the new government Product Recalls (external link) website, businesses can now instantly get news about recalls that affect them.

Currently, product safety recall information is sent out by the following government agencies:

  • New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) — for vehicle recalls
  • Medsafe — medicine
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) — general consumer goods, eg electronics and baby products
  • Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) — food

“The new portal streamlines information availability, allowing consumers and businesses to react more swiftly when products are recalled,” says Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Goldsmith.

“The portal also allows businesses to distribute recall information more effectively, which can reduce the cost of undertaking a recall.”

Businesses and consumers can subscribe to get recall notices from MBIE, Medsafe and NZTA by email, RSS feed and social media. There will also be links on the site to MPI food recalls.

MBIE has introduced an online process that for the first time lets businesses register general consumer goods recalls online, through the Product Recall website.

To access the Product Recalls business services, you'll need a RealMe login — an online ID that proves who you are when logging onto New Zealand government and business websites and services. Create a login (external link) on the RealMe website.

“The portal also aligns with the Better Public Services programme aimed at making it easier for businesses and New Zealanders to interact with government online,” Mr Goldsmith says.

Tips for handling a recall

Notify the correct government department: The type of product being recalled determines which department you need to get in contact with. Each department has different processes and will be able to provide information and advice on how to recall a product.

Tell consumers what to do: Be clear about what people should do if they’ve bought a product that’s been recalled. They’ll want to know whether to return it to you, or how to dispose of it safely — and how to get their money back. The quicker you can do this the better. When consumers feel ill informed about a recall, they can quickly lose trust in a business.

Spread the word: You know your customers and how to get the recall message out to them. When you develop your communications plan consider advertising in newspapers and specialist publications, in-store (notices and information for front-line staff), your website and retailer websites. Also consider using the news and social media.

Find out more about consumer law on the Business.govt.nz website.

How helpful was this article?