There's nothing retail businesses hate to hear more than the word "recall".
When a manufacturer issues a recall of its products, retailers are usually the ones left to clean up the mess. And unless you know what you're doing, a recall mess can turn into a recall disaster in the blink of an eye.
In the U.S., product recalls are regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC's main priority is to protect the American public from unsafe, unsanitary, and unseemly products that are the result of glitches or negligence in the manufacturing process. Although retailers don't cause recalls, they do bear a certain amount of responsibility for assisting the CPSC in its efforts to protect consumers.
Inform CPSC of Potentially Dangerous Products
If you suspect that one of the products you sell is potentially hazardous, you are responsible for reporting it to the CPSC at once. Your suspicions can be based on any number of things from your personal experience with the product to reports from your customers. It's better to be safe than sorry, so if you have any doubts contact the CPSC immediately.
Read & Post Recall Notices
Once the CPSC is made aware of a possible problem, they will assess whether or not consumer safety is at risk and issue a product recall if necessary. Ideally, retailers are notified of the recall before it is made known to the general public to give stores time to prepare their response. Your responsibility is to remain alert for the recalls when they occur and to post recall posters (provided by the CPSC) in your store.
Remove Recalled Products from Shelves
After you have received notice of a product recall, the CPSC expects your store to remove the product from its shelves as quickly as possible. To prevent the possibility of contamination or accidental restocking, carefully segregate recalled inventory from the other products in your storage facility. From there, it's simply a matter of carrying out the disposal instructions in the recall notice, which may or may not include returning the product to the manufacturer.
Assist Customers with Returns
In a perfect world, the manufacturer who is responsible for the recall should have to deal with irritated and concerned customers. But in the real world, that responsibility usual falls to the store where the product was purchased. Instructions about how to handle customer returns can usually be found in the recall notice, but it's not unusual for customers to receive replacement merchandise or a full refund.
Even though your business probably bears no responsibility for the cause of the recall, the manner in which you handle the recall will have an impact on your store's reputation so it pays to go the extra mile. That might mean posting recall information on your company's website, especially if your store actively sells the product online.