Prepare to recall

  • Don’t delay starting the recall and telling consumers.
  • Being prepared with a recall plan can save you time and lead to better results for all involved.


  • Take immediate recall action.
  • Work out if you or another supplier will lead the recall.
  • Activate your recall plan.
See the complete supplier checklist

How to start a recall

Start the recall by taking a recall action.

A recall action is any activity that you take to fix a safety risk with a product that has been released into the supply chain for consumers.

A recall action includes when you:

  • publicly announce that the consumer product is being removed from the retail marketplace, either online or from physical stores
  • ask consumers or suppliers in the chain to return a consumer product for a refund, replacement or modification
  • ask consumers to destroy or dispose a product
  • give new or extra instructions on how to use the product safely, including new instructions to use personal protective equipment (PPE) when using the product
  • supply new product parts to fix a safety risk
  • issue a software or digital update to an internet-connected product to fix a safety risk.

Do not delay starting a recall

Do not delay starting recall action and telling consumers about the recall. You will save time and money by starting quickly. Delays may also lead to suppliers being held responsible for failing to deal with a safety risk. This can include regulatory action.

As the supplier, you are responsible for conducting a recall in a manner that fits the risk. You are also responsible for implementing a plan that will result in the most effective recall possible. The recall process will likely be faster and cheaper if you act early.

You may be responsible for compensating a person if they suffer loss or damage caused by a product you supplied including where the product has a safety defect.

The risk of loss or damage to an individual exists as long as the product is in the consumer’s possession and increases if you:

  • delay recall action
  • do not clearly communicate the risk of the recalled product, or
  • downplay the risk of the recalled product.

Experience shows that more effort is needed to encourage consumers to return a product when they purchased it a long time ago. This leads to increased costs for your business and the increased likelihood of an incident occurring from an unreturned product. To reduce this, do not delay in starting the recall, communicate your recall as much as possible in the early stages, and make it easy for consumers to receive a remedy.

Delaying or resisting a recall can also lead to regulatory action, for instance, through a compulsory recall. This means that the government can direct the way a recall is conducted and how it is to be fixed.

Find out more about when a Minister can order a compulsory recall.

Identify suppliers in the supply chain

If you are the recalling supplier, it is your responsibility to ask all suppliers in the supply chain to:

  1. locate the product and advise how many were supplied.
  2. advise if they have direct consumer contact details. This will help you reach consumers and conduct an effective recall.
  3. find out if the product was purchased, installed and/or serviced by a tradesperson or qualified technician.

If you are a supplier in the supply chain and are participating in the recall, make sure that you:

  1. respond to the recalling supplier’s requests for any information about the recall.
  2. communicate the recall to your consumers, including any consumers you have direct contact details for, on your social media accounts, instore and on your website.
  3. tell the supplier conducting the recall about any complaints you receive about the recall.
  4. understand your mandatory reporting obligations for reporting serious injury, illness or death.
  5. keep in contact with the recalling supplier for any updates about the recall.

Businesses in the supply chain can include manufacturers, importers, producers, distributors and retailers.

Identify if the affected products were supplied in other distribution channels such as online marketplaces.

Contact the ACCC if a supplier in the supply chain has different views about whether a product should be recalled. Email

Work out which supplier will lead the recall

When there is more than one supplier of a product, such as a product manufacturer, importer and distributor, decide which supplier will lead the recall and agree on what each supplier is responsible for.

If no other supplier is taking responsibility, you must take responsibility for what you supply.

The ACCC expects and encourages recalls to be led by those with primary responsibility for addressing the risk, which will generally be those who manufactured or imported the product.

A supplier higher up in the supply chain may be able to give a consistent recall strategy across the supply chain, including retailers.

You may also need to manage the recall with the help of your downstream suppliers. This can include:

  • advising your downstream supplier of the number of affected consumers in their marketing area, if known
  • supporting your downstream supplier to manage problems, such as a shortage of replacement parts, with mass media communication and any necessary financial support
  • ensuring consistent communication of the recall to consumers
  • where your downstream supplier has supplied the product to a person outside of Australia, ensuring they tell the people overseas of the recall and then give us a copy of the notice within 10 days.

You also need to be aware of your obligations under the Australian Consumer Law. Some goods may fail to meet one or more of the consumer guarantees due to a manufacturing defect or issue that would otherwise be the manufacturer’s fault.

The consumer can ask the seller to provide a remedy, and the seller is required by law to help. The seller cannot refuse to comply on the basis that someone else in the supply chain may also be responsible. In this situation the manufacturer must reimburse the seller in accordance with the Australian Consumer Law.

Talk to your supplier

If you are a retailer and you think you need to recall a product, talk to the manufacturer or importer to work out if they are better placed to tell the ACCC and lead the recall. This may change the steps that you need to take. But do not delay starting a recall if you cannot reach a quick agreement. The priority is consumer safety.

Contact us on 02 6243 1262 or by email at if you are aware that more than one business is likely to be affected by a recall and are not sure if:

  • a notification has been submitted, or
  • you need to submit a recall.

If you are responsible for conducting the recall, you should tell the ACCC and have a recall plan in place.

Products supplied using online marketplaces

If you, or others in your supply chain, supplied the affected product using online marketplaces, contact the marketplace as soon as you identify the need to recall. The marketplace may have policies in place to identify consumers who purchased the affected product and maybe able to contact them on your behalf. Marketplaces maybe able to assist you in providing a remedy to consumers and tracking how many consumers have responded to the recall.

Keep in contact with the marketplace throughout your recall and update them with any new information you have about the recall.

Each marketplace will have different policies and procedures in place, so make sure you contact all the marketplaces you used to supply your product.

Activate your recall plan

Having a recall plan will save you time and money when you need to recall consumer products.

Start with the supplier checklist for recalls. There is also a more detailed sample recall plan you can use.

When creating a recall plan, consider the following questions:

  • How are you going to remove the hazard from consumers as quickly as possible?
  • Do you have contact details of consumers that you can use to contact them directly to recall the products?
  • Did you supply your product on an online marketplace, and can you use the marketplace to contact consumers directly?
  • How will you advertise your recall in the most effective manner?
  • Are you using the same channels you used to market the products to recall the products?
  • What problems could you face when recalling your products, and how can you overcome them?
  • Who is the responsible person/s in your business to lead the entire recall process?
  • How will you review, measure, adjust and report how your recall is tracking?

You should review and update your recall plan and communication templates so when you need to do a consumer product safety recall, you can run it effectively.

We understand that it is not always possible to achieve a 100% return rate for all recalls. The higher the risk associated with your recalled product, the more you should try to get close to a 100% recall rate, or otherwise account for close to 100% of the goods supplied.

Sometimes not all products can be retrieved, so there are things you need to consider when deciding if you have done enough to reduce the risk to consumers.