Area of Law:
How many times have you gone shopping at a mall and thought to yourself, "Okay, so I'll pick up a tiny crib for my newborn baby that he can sleep soundly in!" and bought that crib after scanning the entire mall for the most perfect one there was, only to come back home and find that sleeping in that crib just makes your baby cranky instead of comfortable? All because the brand new crib is uneven due to manufacturing and design errors in it. But how could that be? It's brand new, isn't it? I'm sure this hasn't happened to all of us, but these things do happen. You buy a certain product, you think it's exactly what it seems to be, does exactly what it says it does, but the reality turns out to be far from that. And just because you might have not experienced this yet, there's no guarantee that you won't in the future.
In such cases you feel frustrated not just at the product and the brand, but also at yourself. How could I have made such a faulty decision of buying that product?, "What was I thinking! All you can think about now is teaching the manufacturers a lesson or two for cheating customers by selling them low quality faulty products. I bet the next question that comes to your mind is how would you prevent yourself from repeating the mistake of buying a faulty product? How would you know? You're no expert in these matters. Let us tell you how.
Understanding Product Liability
- In broad terms, product liability is associated with the accountability that is to be borne by a manufacturer or retailer for placing a defective and/or faulty product in the possession of the consumer. The accountability of any injury to the consumer caused by that defective product also lies with all the parties involved in selling the defective product to the consumer i.e. not just the manufacturer and retailer but also the wholesaler and those who provide the parts of the product.
- The law states that the product should function as per the claims it makes and not in any other manner that can cause injuries or lead to other undesired outcomes. Many injuries are reported all over the world under product liablity offenses.
- In such cases, consumers can file a legal product liability claim against any of the aforementioned parties.
- There are 3 types of claims that a consumer can make:
- If the product carries a manufacturing defect
- If the product is defectively designed
- If the product does not carry adequate instructions and/or warnings
In this post we will discuss some of the preventive techniques that you can apply to your shopping in order to protect yourself from becoming a victim of product liability.
- The brand matters: Try to avoid shopping for lesser known brands just to save a few bucks. Remember, there is probably a reason why they are lesser known as compared to the well known brands that offer good quality products. You can further ascertain the reputation of the brand that you want to buy by doing some research about it on your own. There are many online forums that provide this kind of information to consumers to enable them to make the right purchase.
- Double-check the fine print: Many-a-times, you might have come across tiny words inscribed on a product's label or advertisement and might have ignored them thinking that it's probably nothing important. But that's where you make your mistake. Read the fine print as it contains several terms and conditions that the manufacturer may not be explicit about. The fine print can contain important information and you certainly do not want to overlook that.
- Guarantees and warranties: To avoid facing any kind of problem with product exchange or replacement or servicing or even getting a refund, do make sure that your product comes with a valid guarantee and warranty, which are required to be in writing to be kept in your records. Don't hesitate in using them, should the need arise, within the time-frame mentioned.
- Check the product before you pay for it: To save yourself from going through any of this process, you can just check the product really well before you purchase it. You could check for expiry dates, discoloration and whether the product is in good working condition. Avoid buying anything if you're not convinced about its quality and purpose and if you find the instructions to be too vague for your understanding.
In most cases if you write about your dissatisfaction with the product to the company and support it with valid reasons and evidence, they will fix the issue themselves. However, if the company refuses to provide any support, it is best that you consult a personal injury attorney with experience in the field of product liability as they would be able to guide you with the correct course of action to be taken. At your level, the best way to protect yourself is by heeding to the above mentioned tips.