Sunday, January 2, 2011

How a recall works

I was asked if I had any information regarding how recalls work. I found some interesting information at the FDA site.

According to the FDA they find out about voluntary recalls when:
A company discovers a problem and contacts FDA.
From the screenshots I have published previously I know that Lela stated she had been reported to the FDA, but at no time has it been publicly disclosed that GS have reported the recall to the FDA.


What is a cosmetic firm's responsibility in a recall?

Under the guidelines in 21 CFR Part 7, you are expected to do the following:
  • You should notify your customers. The content, format, and extent of notification should be commensurate with the hazard presented by the product and the recall strategy developed for the product, as detailed in 21 CFR 7.49.
  • When you initiate a recall, you should notify the appropriate FDA district office [21 CFR 7.46(d)].
  • You should submit periodic recall status reports to the appropriate FDA district office so that we may assess the progress of the recall [21 CFR 7.53]
  • If FDA or your firm determines that a public warning is necessary, you should submit such a statement and plan for its distribution to FDA for review and comment [21 CFR 7.42(b)(2)].
  • You should conduct effectiveness checks, as described in 21 CFR 7.42(b)(3).
  • You are responsible for the disposition of the recalled product, whether the product is destroyed or brought into compliance [21 CFR 7.55].
In terms of a refund things become less clear.
For other products, such as foods, dietary supplements, and cosmetics, take them back to the place of purchase and ask for a refund.
 Well, I've done that, to no avail. There is some discussion on the GSC Facebook page that GS has purportedly limited the refunds to the last 45 days. The FDA states it will review the provisions of any recall and see if the terms are satisfactory. Since, to my knowledge, GS has not formulated a plan, nor contacted the FDA it stands to reason that should GS be placing a 45 limit on refunds that this may be considered unacceptable by the FDA, and thus, unenforceable.

At this point it really is in the hands of the FDA. I will be amending my complaint to include the information that GS has apparently failed to follow (yet another) FDA guideline by not reporting the recall and safety issues with their products.

1/2/11 ETA: I found further information on this site. I;ve got some good news, and some bad news.
Who pays for the Recall?
The manufacturer/company is responsible for all of the costs involved in this process. Most companies carry product recall insurance to assist with the costs of the recall.
Can I get my money back?
All recalls are voluntary, and the terms are determined by each company when a recall is announced. Each company evaluates the costs of removing products, replacing products or reimbursing customers, and of future “corrective” marketing (restoring the public’s trust in purchasing their products), as well as the amount of recall insurance they have purchased, to determine what they can afford and how to proceed.
In general, a company will refund the suggested retail value of the recalled item(s). The company may choose how to reimburse customers, including:
  • cash or check covering the suggested retail price, or
  • product exchange (damaged product is replaced with a new product without charge), or
  • voucher (coupon for a free product that replaces the damaged product).
Are receipts required for a refund?
Recalls are based on returning a defective product to the manufacturer, and not the actual purchase. Receipts are generally not accepted, unless returns are made directly to the store at which it was purchased.
Manufacturers generally require the actual product to be returned (and tested or destroyed by their facility). Receipts are not generally required, since the manufacturer’s goal is not to prove that you paid for the product, but that you have it.  To prove that you have the product, they often require the entire product be returned, including any unused portion. This also allows the company to test returned product, and confirm which products, lot numbers, production lines, etc., have problems, and that any hazard has been removed and destroyed…and also helps the company protect against fraudulent claims.
So, it seems that GS cannot ask anyone to send back their pigments at their own cost, GS can offer a replacement of commensurate value instead of a refund, and you must return the product to get whatever they are offering as a replacement.

A few things: GS had previously outlined their policy  terms in the recall notice. At no time was there a time limit placed on the recall. As a matter of fact, the recall notice specifically states it is for pigments from the years 2006-2010, and offers a choice of refund or replacement. Additionally, the recall list states that you must show proof of purchase, which I now know is not needed.


  1. Thank you for researching and posting this

  2. Fortunately for us, she does not know the requirements and we have all these resources in place, but it is also unfortunate that she does not know and has been operating so dirty all this time. I really hope for her sake she "schools" herself on these requirements when it comes to selling cosmetics to the public and any business for that matter. I do urge to file with the Attorney General because they are going to have a ball working with a business who is operating with no license, not paying their taxes and selling 1/2 a$$ed products with their "own" recall list. GS really needs to be revamped, policies drawn up, regulations known, proper business procedures and practice in place before the continuance of selling products to the public. Her idea that her cosmetics were going to be in Sephora one day makes me crack up..

  3. MakingItUp-They may not have known the requirements before, but they will probably know them now. I assume that they are aware of both this blog and the Facebook group. Both are public, and it would not surprise me if both are visited regularly by the GS staff.

    I have already filed with the AG and am patiently awaiting their reply.

  4. I'd also like to thank you for this. As someone who DOES have recalled pigments but who ordered them quite a while back, I wasn't sure on how to proceed. The GS 'rules' for their recall are so fuzzy and seem to change every 30 seconds, it's nice to know what the FDA has to say about this sort of situation.

  5. Blu-You're very welcome. I find all this very interesting. I am learning more about my rights as a consumer. I almost can't wait to see what I'll learn next!


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