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Faulty Products: Reading the instructions saves lives!

The number of people injured every year as a result of purchasing a faulty product remains a cause for concern despite the fact that many of these goods carry either the Kitemark and/or the CE marking.  Goods displaying the Kitemark mean that the British Standards Institute [BSI] has independently tested it and has confirmed that the product conforms to the relevant British Standard.  It then issues a BSI license to the company to use the Kitemark and the manufacturer pays for this service.   The Kitemark, formerly known as the British Standard Mark, was created in 1903 and is the symbol that gives consumers the assurance that the product they have bought conforms to the appropriate British Standard and should therefore be safe and reliable.  Well – that’s the theory!

The reality is that thousands of people are injured through using faulty products but this isn’t helped by the fact that the majority of consumers ignore product recalls and put themselves at risk by using electrical goods that could cause a fire or electrocution.  Around 70 people are killed each year, and many more injured, as a result of fires in cookers, fridges or tumble-dryers.  There are examples of injuries caused by garden furniture collapsing, electric lawn mowers catching fire, brakes that fail on a car that has just been serviced, hair products that cause severe scalp burns, children injured playing with faulty toys and these examples highlight the true the scale of the problem.  I’m referring to both legitimate and counterfeit goods of course and a recent television programme highlighted how thousands of products were seized by Council Trading Standards Officers in London which included fake mobile phone chargers which can catch fire, bottles of vodka that didn’t just contain vodka, and counterfeit make-up that contained harmful ingredients.

If you suffer an injury through the use of a defective product you may have a claim for compensation against the manufacturer.  There are also a few things you can do to make life easier regarding any claim including [1] When/where did you purchase the product? [2] Do you still have the receipt?  If you don’t then check your debit/credit card statements as details of the transaction might be recorded there.  [3] Did the product come with an instruction booklet and did you follow those instructions?  Be honest because it is going to come out in the subsequent investigation and although it doesn’t automatically prevent you from claiming it could have an effect on the level of damages you’re awarded.  [4] Don’t be too hasty in charging into the store with your faulty product and handing it over because that might be the only piece of physical evidence you have so keep it until you’ve taken legal advice but take photographs of it showing the faulty part[s].  The packaging will provide vital information on the name of manufacturer, the product code and the batch number. [5] Report the incident to the store and ask them to complete an Incident Form.  [6] Seek medical advice regarding any injuries and finally – take proper legal advice before you agree to any offer from the store.

Harris Fowler has a team of specialist personal injury solicitors who can offer advice to anyone who suffers a personal injury following an accident caused by a faulty product.  Free and confidential legal advice is available on 0800 213 214 or visit our website www.harrisfowler.co.uk

Harris Fowler is a trading name of Harris Fowler Limited and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority no. 558271.

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