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Hotline Questions and Answers

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A company conducting a recall must provide a toll-free telephone number (800/888/877/866) for consumers to respond to the recall announcement. 

Whether an automated system or live operators are used to answer calls, companies should prepare scripts and instructions for responding to questions. Live operators or taped messages should begin by identifying the company and product, and explaining the reason for the recall. Most consumers who hear about a recall by radio, television, or word of mouth will not remember all the information they hear initially. Again, at its beginning, the message should reinforce the need for listeners to act, particularly if the message is lengthy. CPSC staff must approve all scripts before the recall is announced. All automated systems should provide a number for consumers to contact the company for special problems, e.g., problems completing repairs or installing parts. 

Reducing Call Volume: Required provision of a website and e-mail for consumers to register to participate in the recall will help reduce call volume and make the call volume more manageable. Companies should also consider offering a call-back service to return calls within 24-48 hours. (“Product Safety Planning, Reporting, & Recall Handbook” p.25)

What is the purpose of a consumer question and answer script?

Consumer or customer service question and answer scripts assist companies in responding to routine or typical questions that a consumer may have relating to a product recall. The FAQ should:

  • provide important information on how to determine whether the company's product is included in the recall;
  • give detailed instructions on how to respond to a recall;
  • provide detailed specific instructions on what precautions to take to prevent injury until the product is repaired or replaced, or returned for a refund;
  • instruct consumers to discontinue use of product;
  • provide a level of consistency for Customer Service Representatives in responding to consumer questions concerning the recall.

Advantages of using a customer service script:

A well-crafted customer service script can give impacted consumers confidence that the recalling firm is committed to addressing the problem and putting the needs of their customers first. These scripts can be programmed to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, providing instant responses to most routine or frequently asked questions from consumers. The scripts can also eliminate the need for additional customer service personnel to respond to these types of questions and provide consumers immediate, consistent guidance related to the recall.

How should you use a question and answer script?

Q&A scripts can be used to provide consumers with information in a number of ways:

  • via a toll free telephone number;
  • by including them with recall information linked from the Firm's homepage;
  • through emails or social media responses to customers; or
  • by sending them with direct mail recall notification packages.

Drafting Tips

  • Keep the questions simple and the responses direct. This minimizes consumer confusion and helps ensure important recall information is communicated accurately.
  • Limit the number of questions and responses in each item to a one question and one answer response. Too many questions on the same topic can be confusing.
  • Accentuate the positive. The questions should not intimidate or discourage the consumer from participating in the recall.
  • When asking questions that require a "yes" or "no" response, include "yes" or "no" in the response. For example,
    • Q: "Will I receive a full refund?"
    • A: "Yes. You will receive a full refund."
  • Be mindful of the importance of keeping all responses to consumer questions consistent from one customer service representative to the next. It is important that the same information is provided to each consumer, with no deviation from the provided script. Consumers who have special needs or unusual requests should be referred to a Firm-designated official who can handle such requests on a case-by-case basis.

Sample Questions and Answers

Q. Why is the firm conducting this recall?

A. We are conducting this recall to keep our customers safe and to prevent injuries.


Q. How is the firm conducting this recall?

A. We are removing the problem products from stores and consumers' homes and providing a free repair/replacement of the product or a full refund.


Q. How can I tell if my product is affected by the recall?

Include the details for identifying the recalled product in the answer.

A. "Look at the label on the bottom of the product for the model number ___ and date code ___."


Q. How do I participate in the recall?

Include the steps necessary for the consumer to participate in the recall.

A. "Call our toll-free number and we will ship you a box and return label for the product"; or, "Register online at:, and we will send you a check/money order for the full purchase price of the product."


Q. What is the problem with my [product]?

A. (Give a brief description of the defect or problem)


Q. My product appears to be okay. Can I continue to use it?

A. No. Even though your product appears to be safe, we are asking all customers to stop using the product immediately and participate in the recall by returning the product to us for a free repair, free replacement or full refund). It is illegal to sell a recalled product.


Q. I no longer have the receipt for the product. Can I still return it?

A. Yes. You can still return the product without a receipt.


The following Q&As are illustrative. Not all questions apply to your specific Corrective Action Plan.

Q. Will I receive a refund for the product?

A. Yes. You will receive a full refund for the purchase price of the product, plus postage.


Q. How long will it take for me to receive the repair/replacement?

A. Please allow _______ weeks from the date you contacted us. We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause, and we assure you that we are working as quickly as possible to repair/replace your product.


Q. Will I be able to repair the product myself?

A1. Yes. We will include complete instructions with the repair kit, as well as a telephone number to call if you have question about the repair or have trouble conducting the repair.

A2. No. Do not repair the product yourself. Please return it to us immediately for a free (repair, replacement, or refund).


Last updated 9/2021 Compliance 

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