Know Thy Defect: On Dealing With Defective Goods and Products

There should be no guessing when it comes to purchasing a good, product, or service – whether you’re getting groceries, availing of insurance, or having your car disinfected. However, a company or business’s provided information may not tell the whole story.

To get a broader view, experts warn you to research the products you plan to purchase. Ask for advice and recommendations from people you trust, check with consumer protection organizations, and read reviews online. Get a sense of what things cost, and learn how to spot satisfactory quality versus substandard quality.

But what if you did all those things and you still ended up an unsatisfied customer or worse, as someone whose consumer rights were abused or violated due to a defective good or product? Fret not because we’ve got you covered! Here is a general consumer’s guide on how to identify the different defects of goods & products and how to deal with them:

Dealing With Defective Goods and Products
Dealing With Defective Goods and Products

Types of Good and Product Defects

Good and product defects can be divided into three types: defects in design, manufacturing, and instructions or warnings. Legal remedies and redress for harm or injury sustained from defective goods and products vary depending on the case or claim. Examples of each defect are noted below:

Defects in Design:  A manufacturer’s design for a car is so top-heavy that turning sharp corners causes it to flip over.

Defects in Manufacturing: Due to a faulty manufacturing process, a videogame console has a processor that makes the console more prone to hardware failure.

Defects in Instructions or Warnings: An electric water heater needs a more detailed written warning due to overheating and the possibility of causing an electrical fire if left on for more than 8 hours.

Dealing With the Defective

Return the item

Establishments will accept defective goods & products, offer returns and exchanges if you return them within their warranty period, and show them your receipts and other proofs of purchase. However, establishments will not accept defective goods & products and are not liable for the defect or defects if:

  • The consumer was aware of the defect or defects at the time of purchase
  • Defect or defects were caused by an accident that occurred after the good or product was delivered to the consumer
  • Defect or defects were caused by the consumer’s mishandling of the good or product
  • Defect or defects were caused by the consumer’s ignorance of the good or product’s instructions for use and proper maintenance
  • Defect or defects were caused by regular wear and tear

Tell the (consumer protection) world

There are plenty of consumer protection agencies and organizations you can call and turn to when you need help addressing your complaints. For example, Consider The Consumer is composed of journalists who have committed their mission to discourage malicious business practices by exposing consumer fraud and promoting consumer education. The databases of such organizations also contain various articles and resources to help you better understand and respond to situations involving faulty goods & products.

Get legal help

Suppose a defective good or product has harmed or injured you. In that case, you may want to consider contacting an attorney to learn about the legal options that may be available to you, such as filing a consumer class action. Consumer law provides several safeguards against the dangerous effects of faulty goods and products depending on the case. There are two key legal theorems for good and product defect cases. These are:

  • Negligence: A plaintiff may collect damages from a liable defendant (i.e., a manufacturer or establishment) if they can prove that the manufacturer or establishment breached a duty (i.e., a dentist providing professional dental care) owed to a plaintiff and that this breach caused harm and injury to the plaintiff. For example, a case wherein a customer suffered serious burns due to a hot beverage that wasn’t heated according to safety guidelines would most likely result in the customer receiving a monetary award for damages from the guilty establishment.
  • Strict Liability: Good and product defects that happen during the manufacturing process make the manufacturer “strictly liable,” regardless of the level of care provided by the manufacturer. As long as defects come from the manufacturer, the manufacturer is automatically responsible for any harm or injury suffered by the consumer.

The dangers of defective goods & products include causing harm and injury to countless consumers each year. Although if you purchase a good or product that just doesn’t perform as advertised, and causes no actual injury, then you may be covered by a warranty or at the very least have the option of returning it for a refund or exchange.

Additionally, you may have a legal claim if you have sustained harm or injury from a defective good or product.  Know what’s coming out or know the product line of the item or items you like to avoid buyer’s remorse. Know what you want and get what you want! Sometimes that’s all it takes to avoid problems.

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