Press release

Consumer champion Lynn Faulds Wood to lead product safety review

Leading consumer campaigner Lynn Faulds Wood will lead a review of the UK’s system for the recall of unsafe products.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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Broadcaster and leading consumer campaigner Lynn Faulds Wood will lead a review of the UK’s system for the recall of unsafe products, Consumer Affairs Minister Jo Swinson announced today (13 March 2015).

The independent review will focus on how we can make enforcement more effective and explore consumer understanding of the process.

The UK has robust legislation covering product safety, however recalls are often complex and it can be difficult to trace the customer – for example they may not have provided contact details when the product was purchased or moved house.

Recent YouGov research showed that just over a third of us currently register our appliances.

Consumer Affairs Minister Jo Swinson said:

There are more than 100 million appliances being used in our homes today, so it is vital that when manufacturers discover safety issues they can recall products as quickly as possible.

It is essential that we look at how we can improve the current system so that we can protect consumers and reduce the cases of serious injury, property damage, and in the worst cases, fatalities.

I am delighted to announce that Lynn Faulds Wood will be chairing the review. She has a wealth of experience as a consumer champion and is a fantastic person to take this important work forward.

Lynn is best known as a consumer champion and campaigning tabloid journalist. Lynn has a long broadcasting career which dates back to the early 1980s when Breakfast TV started. For many years Lynn presented Watchdog from 1985 to 1993. During her time on Watchdog she worked with the Department of Trade helping to organise over £10million in recalls for viewers and manufacturers.

Lynn Faulds Wood said:

I’m delighted to have been offered the challenge of chairing this important independent review into product recalls. As a television journalist I’ve criticised the recall system many times over the years.

Product recalls which have failed to reach the public – or been insufficiently acted upon – have led to unnecessary damage, injury and even death. Good businesses may even be disadvantaged under the present system.

I congratulate the minister on taking action today and I look forward to working with everyone on reviewing the system in this country. Bright ideas on how we can involve the public better in knowing about product recalls and acting on them are especially welcome.

Consumers and businesses are encouraged to get in touch about their experiences of consumer product recalls. The views of the authorities who enforce recall across the UK and other stakeholders such as the legal, medical and insurance professions are also welcomed.

Views should be sent by email to productrecallreview@bis.gsi.gov.uk

Notes to editors:

1.Lynn Faulds Wood biography:

Lynn has a long broadcasting career which dates back to the early 1980s when Breakfast TV started. Lynn joined TV-am as their Consumer Champion 1983 to 1984 then to BBC Breakfast Time 1984 to 1986. She presented the BBC’s Watchdog programme from 1985 to 1993 featuring many items on unsafe products from cars to cots, achieving audiences of 7 million and thousands of letters a week. Lynn was awarded Consumer Journalist of the Decade in the 1980s.

From 2003 to 2009, she was Consumer Champion on GMTV.

In 2014, Wood returned to Watchdog, with a new daytime BBC One series, Watchdog Test House, which she presented with Sophie Raworth.

2.The review was announced by Baroness Neville-Rolfe in the House of Lords during the House of Lords Report Stage of the Consumer Rights Bill on 19 November 2014.

Published 13 March 2015