Which products have the most safety recalls in Australia?

Angus Kidman 2 August 2016


Do you have one of the 182 cars that required a recall last year?

In the 2015-16 financial year, 670 products were officially recalled in Australia for safety reasons. That was a rise on the previous year, when 596 products were recalled by Product Safety Australia. Given the thousands of new products that go on sale every year, 670 recalls is not a massively high number. However, that's not much comfort if your shiny new vehicle has to go back for an unexpected repair.

You can see the full breakdown by category below. (Some products span more than one category.) Cars topped the charts in the last two years, followed by food and groceries; electrical and gas; hobbies, sports and recreation; and products for kids.

The highest total number doesn't necessarily represent the highest risk. The car industry is highly regulated, so any defect deemed to be even a minor risk can result in a wide-scale recall. However, typically this will involve a repair to the vehicle, not an outright replacement. Conversely, food is likely to sell in much higher quantities, and a recall will typically be accompanied by a refund.

That's assuming we can be bothered. Research by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) suggests that 70% of us will bother seeking a refund if something costs $25. If it's less than that, we'll throw it out - assuming we ever hear about the recall in the first place.

Often the best publicised recalls are for electronics. This year, we've seen Apple recalling power adaptors and HP replacing batteries in many of its laptops.

Unsure if something you've purchased has been recalled? You can search the Recalls database to check. Even innocuous items can have safety risks. I wouldn't have guessed that a heart-shaped calculator could be dangerous, but it turns out there's a risk of it cracking open when dropped, meaning the cell battery might be swallowed by a child. Take care and check, people.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.

Picture: Product Safety Australia

Ask a Question

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Disclaimer: At finder.com.au we provide factual information and general advice. Before you make any decision about a product read the Product Disclosure Statement and consider your own circumstances to decide whether it is appropriate for you.
Rates and fees mentioned in comments are correct at the time of publication.
By submitting this question you agree to the finder.com.au privacy policy, receive follow up emails related to finder.com.au and to create a user account where further replies to your questions will be sent.

Ask a question