Burning down the house

It’s a hot topic at the moment, pun intended, how do we manage product recalls for goods especially white goods.

Most product recalls go un-noticed and there’s about 3 white good fires a day in the UK. Tragically these sometimes end in loss of life. It’s then there for pretty important a system, as Which? would put, is “fit for purpose”.

The leading suggestion is to create a “one shop stop”, a central database that people can go to check if their dishwasher is safe.

Today a central site already exists that directs you to the different to recall information. I would argue that making a shit system less shit won’t fix the underlying problem.

The underlying problem

Information around recalls needs to be pushed not pulled by the consumer.

A solution

When a consumer buys a product that qualifies they can opt into receiving recall information.

How would it work?

Yes a central database of products would exist. It will hold product data and anonymous user data. It would be easier and better without the anonymous, but people are divs and think they are special, so special that the government gives a hoot about what colour socks they, and they alone, bought last week.

Then when a user buys a product they’ll get given a registration sheet that could easily be applied to the packaging itself or as a flyer or on the receipt.

Users would then either phone, QR code scan or visit the recall website to register their device.

Phone users would call the number, press 1 and then plug in the product’s unique code. That’s it. They’ll then get an automated call or sms when a recall occurs.

Web users will get a call, email or sms, letter (dependent on preference).

Phone users can add as many devices to their number as they wish. If they change phone numbers they can press 2 and go through a process of revalidation. This could be automated using voice recognition. It would challenge the user to recall some of the devices associated to the number before re-assigning a number (you’ll need to remember the old number too).

You can’t pull from this system, you don’t really want users to be doing that kind of behaviour anyway. Instead it will only push, this stops scammers trying to find out what you own.

That’s it. Users get timely alerts of recalls and government can legislate to make sure these organisations are keeping the database up to date.

Your welcome society.


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