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When a product that is already available to the consumer is found to be defective, a product recall is generally issued. This is done to protect the consumer and the company as well. Companies can be held responsible if their product causes harm to the consumer or his or her property. In New York, failure to issue the recall can cause product liability issues for the company.

Recently, Best Buy was subject to a $3.8 million penalty for continuing to sell recalled products over a five year period. Research indicates that their inventory control system did not have procedures in place to consistently identify which inventory had been recalled.  Additionally, this recall information was not correctly passed on to sales representatives.

Apparently, over the five year period, the retailer sold 16 different recalled products and over 600 total items to unsuspecting consumers. The products included cameras, laptop computers, dehumidifiers as well as other products. These products had been recalled for a variety of reasons including possible skin irritants and fire safety concerns. In fact, one of the products sold did catch on fire.

When a product is recalled, retailers are to remove the items from their sales shelves. They should also have systems in place to identify the product as being recalled so that an uninformed salesperson will not inadvertently find the item for the customer and allow a purchase transaction to proceed. Additionally, the product should be coded in the sales and inventory system as not available for sale.

New York customers who find that they have purchased a recalled item will want to follow the manufacturer's instructions on returning the product. However, if the product has caused damage to the consumer or his or her property, legal recourse may be available. It is possible that a legitimate product liability claim exists.

Source:, "Best Buy To Pay $3.8 Million For Selling Recalled Products", Ashlee Kieler, Oct. 4, 2016

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