Project for the European CommissionStrategies to maximize the effectiveness of product recalls

Project period: 
March 2020 – December 2020

European Commission – CHAFEA 

Project partner: 
LE Europe, Ipsos NV, VVA

Dangerous products may pose a risk to consumers and the people around them, with potentially serious consequences. For example, faulty toys may pose choking hazards for children and faulty wiring could be a fire hazard. Product recall is one of the main ways that producers, distributors and the authorities can work together to reduce risks posed by dangerous products, potentially avoiding dangers. However, product recalls only reduce risk if consumers respond appropriately. Appropriate consumer behavior may include returning, disposing of, or storing products without using them in the future. Because recalls are only as effective at the consumer response, it is important to understand consumer behavior in this regard.

Against this background, LE Europe, VVA, Ipsos and ConPolicy were commissioned with this project by the European Commission. The objective of this study was to identify possibilities to increase product registration and recall effectiveness for non-food products with a specific focus on behavioral remedies in encouraging registration and product recall.

This study measured quantitatively and qualitatively the response of consumers to different remedies at registration and recall, and how this varies across product and risk types (product value, lifespan, type of risk (e.g. safety)). Further, the study assessed the economic cost of recalled products remaining in customer hands, and the economic impact of increased recall effectiveness.

The first phase of the study assessed the literature with regard to remedies to encourage increased registration and recall. In a second step, two online experiments and complimentary consumer surveys were conducted to test the effectiveness of alternative remedies on consumers registration and recall behaviors. In the third step, evidence from the data collection activities were aggregated and policy recommendations were provided.

Within the consortium, ConPolicy was responsible for the design and analysis of the quantitative, representative consumer survey to assess consumer’s experience with product registration and recall as well as their awareness, perceptions and attitudes of product safety.

The final report of the project may be downloaded from the website of the European Commission.

Project of

Project Manager

+49 (0)30 2359116-13

Project Manager

+49 (0)30 2359116-18