With the substantial number of product recalls that occur every month (in December of this year alone, Health Canada recalled thousands of lead-tainted plastic necklaces, charm bracelets and pendants), it is important that consumers are aware of their options when they purchase a faulty or recalled product, says Michael Smith, a partner in Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s Toronto office who specializes in civil litigation and is the Regional Leader of the Firm’s Product Liability Group.

To seek redress, Smith says, there are several steps the public can take. These include:

-Identify the recalled product. Apart from media notices, consumers can also do some investigation. For example, check the Health Canada and Transport Canada websites. The U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission website lists recalls and warnings for thousands of consumer products.

-Go to the supplier. Sometimes the suppliers of a recalled or faulty product may offer compensation. Go straight to the supplier and escalate the complaint to the management level for resolution.

-Contact authorities. Lodge a complaint with the relevant regulator.

-Use alternative dispute resolution (ADR) where possible.