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Product Recall Communication Case Study

Communicating details of a product recall to consumers who have the affected product is often the hardest part of a product recall. Our site highlights some of the key communication actions that companies should consider when running a product recall. Unfortunately not all companies are as committed as they should be to this communication process.

The following is a case study of a large recall where the manufacturer has made a committed and professional attempt to communicate details of the recall to their customers.

Bosch Dishwasher Case Study

In July of this year BSH (Bosch) launched a recall for 632,000 dishwashers sold in the UK between 1999 and 2005. There were 237 models sold under the Bosch, Siemens and Neff brands.

BSH had found that under certain conditions, specifically during power spikes, the soldering in the dishwasher’s control panel could fail leading to it overheating which created a potential fire hazard.

This was a particularly difficult recall to communicate because:-

  • The dishwashers had been sold between 6 and 12 years ago
  • BSH did not have contact details for many of the current owners (which is typical for this type of product)
  • The sheer number of dishwashers involved

Listed below are some of the actions that BSH took to try and communicate details of the recall to their customers.

Recall Communication Actions

1. The recall was launched at the beginning of July 2011. BSH placed notices in the following publications advising their customers of the recall:-

  • On the 3rd July 2011 recall notices were placed in the Sunday editions of the Telegraph, Times, Independent and The Mail
  • It was then re-advertised in the Telegraph, Times, Independent and Mail on the 5th July before recall notices were then placed in the Sun and Daily Mirror on the 16th July
  • In late July/early August there was an article on the recall featured in the Electrical Retail News
  • On the 23rd September recall notices were placed in various local newspapers around the country

2. BSH also launched a Google AdWords campaign that advertised the product recall to consumers who were searching for details on the internet

3. BSH gathered contact details of known and potential owners from their sales partners, warranty data, service systems, etc, and sent out over 1m letters to customers advising them of the recall

4. BSH created a comprehensive website that gave details of the recall, identified the affected products, gave contact phone numbers and provided an online tool that allowed consumers to check if their dishwasher was affected

5. The call centre staffing was increased significantly to cater for the high call volumes expected as a result of the communication campaign

Recall Progress

Five months after the recall started BSH had repaired over 137,000 dishwashers at an average of 27,000/month. BSH are continuing with their communication campaigns and expect their recall actions to continue well into 2012.

BSH’s approach to dealing with this product recall should be applauded. This is the benchmark that all major recalls should be measured against.

Do your recall communication plans measure up to this? If not, why not? Click here to find out how to communicate your product recall.