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NHTSA Redesigns Recalls

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On: Sat, Feb 15, 2014 at 9:20AM | By: Karen Cook

NHTSA Redesigns Recalls

While we are on the subject of recalls (and when are we not?), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has designed a new label for use on recall notifications in an effort to distinguish between actual federal recalls and sales or marketing junk mail. The only thing scarier than getting a recall notice is getting a recall notice and throwing it in the trash because it looked like junk.

Manufacturers will be required to use the new label (seen above) beginning February 18th. This is an effort by the federal agency to help consumers differentiate between “misleading sales and marketing materials” and true safety notices. Reinforcement will be provided by other federal agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission. There was no information regarding penalties or fines connected with simulating federally issued recalls.

In a statement issued by the NHTSA they said that the “new label will allow consumers to quickly recognize recall notices mailed to their homes so they can act quickly to get their vehicles” repaired.

The public is a little skeptical, judging by comments posted in response to this announcement. Some believe that manufacturers deliberately design a recall notice to look like garbage so consumers will miss the opportunity to have the vehicle repaired, which saves money for the automaker. However, manufacturers must show a certain percentage of repairs done in order for the recall to be closed. If the quota isn’t met, new notices must be sent out. Others point out that it is only a matter of time before marketing departments figure out a way to make their labels look close to legitimate without duplicating the new label, which will make this change obsolete.

The safest bet is to open all your mail, even if you think it’s going in the trash. Not to be too dramatic, your life may depend on it.


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