Dangerous Products and Recalls
When products prove to be dangerous, companies are obliged to take suitable measures to protect consumers from hazards. In such cases, a product recall is often initiated.
Obligations for Companies – the Product Safety Act 2004
When companies recognise that a product which they sell is dangerous, they have to take suitable correctional measures. If necessary, the authorities have to order these measures. Measures of this kind can be a ban on sales or a recall, for example. A recall is a request to consumers to return a product which has already been delivered or acquired so that it can be repaired, exchanged or destroyed.
Companies are obliged to inform the relevant authorities about voluntary recalls. Please refer to the download Questions and answers about recalls (in German) and the European Corrective Action Guide.
Please note that there are special provisions for recalls of some groups of products. The procedures described here in relation to the Product Safety Act 2004 mainly apply to non-food consumer goods. However, special regulations can override them.
Under certain conditions the Ministry of Social Affairs has to report recalls and other measures to the European Commission. The European Commission maintains the RAPEX database. With this database, the European Commission informs all Member States about recalls and other measures. In this way, it can be ensured that all European product safety authorities are informed quickly.
Information about recalls and other corrective measures can be viewed on the RAPEX website of the European Commission.
The Product Safety Website of AGES – Notifications from the Federal Ministry
Important recalls of which the Federal Ministry is informed are announced on the website of the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES). The AGES also provides a special app which can inform you about product recalls.
A Special Case – Car Recalls
Car recalls in Austria are regulated by the Motor Vehicles Act. In such cases, the company representing the vehicle manufacturer sends the vehicle identification numbers of the affected cars to the central vehicle register kept by the Austrian Association of Insurance Companies. The vehicle owners are then contacted in writing to inform them about the recall. Those affected receive a letter from the vehicle manufacturer as well as a general automated accompanying letter from the Ministry of Social Affairs. However, the contact details of the vehicle owners are not sent to either the vehicle manufacturer or the Ministry of Social Affairs.
With this procedure, all of the affected vehicle owners can be informed in an efficient way while at the same time adhering to data protection requirements.
If you bought your vehicle abroad and imported it yourself, the company representing the vehicle manufacturer will normally not have your vehicle details on its database – in this way you can ‘slip through the net’ when there is a recall. If you imported your vehicle yourself and think that it is affected by a recall, but you have not been notified of this, please contact the company representing the vehicle manufacturer in Austria.