New Report: Product recalls, warnings and penalties all increased in 2023

WASHINGTON — Product recalls in 2023 hit the highest level in the United States in seven years, with 323 announcements about defective appliances, furniture, bike helmets, toys and other everyday products.

A new analysis by U.S. PIRG Education fund, Safe At Home in 2024? (report releases March 7) shows the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission also bolstered enforcement in 2023. The agency, which oversees product recalls, issued three times more public warnings when companies refused to cooperate with a recall than in 2022, and reached more multi-million dollar settlements last year when companies failed to report known hazards. Peloton Interactive Inc. and HSN Inc (formerly Home Shopping Network) paid the two largest civil penalties in 2023.

Among the 321 new recalls, the products collectively were connected to more than 550 injuries, 15 deaths and more than 500 fires before the recalls. This doesn’t include the two re-announcements for infant rocker sleepers, which have been linked to about 115 deaths. The total value of all 323 product recalls was between $12.9 billion and $24.6 billion, because, with any given recall, different models of the product were priced differently. 

“It’s clear that dangerous products truly threaten all of us, our children and our homes,” said Teresa Murray, U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s Consumer Watchdog director and author of the report. “The injuries and deaths that occur are tragic and difficult to read about. We’re often not safe at home, and we don’t even know it.”

The report also digs into the problem of unsafe or recalled products often sold on online marketplaces such as Amazon, Facebook and eBay. A pending regulatory decision could make Amazon more accountable and responsible for what it sells.  

Safe At Home also offers tips for consumers to protect themselves from dangerous products before they shop and if something they own gets recalled.