Were you told that your Samsung Galaxy was not allowed on a flight you were taking? Did you have to take time out of your workweek to visit a Samsung official agent in order to figure out if you were affected by a battery recall in your Samsung’s phone model? Recalling products has not been a common act within Egypt. Consumers are often kept in the dark, leaving them to be faced with harmful side effects – as in faulty phone batteries—or being told that re-purchasing the same or similar item is the only choice they have.
It’s safe to say that consumer’s complaints in Egypt have successfully pushed legislation in the right direction.
The Egyptian legislators have enacted a new consumer protection law number 181 of the year 2018 which will supersede over the older one (law number 67 of the year 2006).
The new law ensures the existence that a good channel of communication is established between the suppliers and consumers by providing all the necessary information related to products in Arabic and an additional two other languages. Suppliers are now obliged to include all their information such as their address, contact details and trademark credentials on the product in a way that guarantee consumer’s right to have recourse against the suppliers should the consumer seeks contribution under a valid claim.
Under the Egyptian consumer protection law, mass recall of defected products is not obligatory. However, under the same law the supplier is held under legal obligation to execute the recall based on the consumer’s demand; furthermore, he has other options to exploit if the consumer allows it which will be explained below.
The supplier is obligated to contact the Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) within seven days of his discovery of any defect and report the defection that occurs in the products, and any possible damage that might result from such defection to the agency. If the defect found in the products could cause/have any negative effect on the consumer’s well-being or health, the time limit of seven days for the supplier to report to the CPA is then nullified, during which the consumer is allowed to report on the defect and its harmful/negative effect. The supplier will then have to provide a report to the agency concerning any defects as soon as he discovers them, or as soon as he gains knowledge of same.
The supplier is compelled under Article 19 of executory regulation of the Law 181/2018 to publish the defects of their products in a widely spread daily newsletter, or through direct contact with consumers in the cases where such contact is possible, with respect to the CPA’s regulation which is specified by a decree issued by the Agency. The supplier will also be obliged to warn the consumers from using the defected products and cease the manufacturing process immediately. While preserving consumers right in providing repairs of the products upon the consumer’s request, offering exchanging of the defected product for another fit and undamaged product upon the consumer’s request, recalling of the defected product upon the consumer’s request is also obligatory on the supplier.
As a general rule, under the latter law of Consumer Protection Articles 17 and 21, the consumer retains his right to exchange the product for another flawless one or request a refund, even if it is not defected during the first 14 days of the purchase or during the first 30 days of the purchase if it is defected, which is an improvement for the consumer compared to the former law, where the consumer could only return the product or exchange it for another or request a refund only if it is defected within 14 days.
The supplier will have to report the defects to the agency in order to protect himself from facing any penalties pursuant to the Law. The report must contain the following details:
- The reporter’s name, capacity, nationality, address, domicile of choice in Egypt, and if the report is provided by a delegate, then his name and address shall be attached alongside the official dedicated document.
- Clarification of the defected product(s).
- Name and address of the producer.
- If the product is imported, then the name of the importer and his address have to be stated in the report.
- The date of which the defection was discovered or known.
- Technical accurate definition of the defection present in the product.
- Possible harm that could occur as a result of the defected product, and a statement that explains the method of preventing the harm from happening or handling it, if it occurs.
- The procedures required to be executed by the consumer in order to realize exchange, recall, or repair of the defected products with no additional charges.
- Any other information the supplier deems worthy of being included in the report or considers important.
Therefore, in case of a defected product the supplier will be given the option, provided by the law, to recall the defected product and provide the affected consumer with three options free of any charges :
- Exchange for an intact similar product
Highlighting what happened with Samsung when they discovered that their new product “Samsung Note 7” has a manufacturing defect in the phones’ batteries, which caused some of them to generate excessive heat, resulting in fires; as a result, on 2 September 2016, Samsung suspended sales of the Galaxy Note 7 and announced a recall. The President of Samsung’s mobile business Koh Dong-jin said that concerning the recall “There was a tiny problem in the manufacturing process, so it was very difficult to figure it out. It will cost us so much it makes my heart ache. Nevertheless, the reason we made this decision is because what is most important is customer safety.”
“Samsung’s Note 7” is a solid example for a company recalling a defected product, the renowned company “Samsung Electronics” discovered that their flagship new mobile phone (Note 7) had a disastrous defect that causes the phones to sometimes catch on fire and maybe even explode due to a flaw in the battery manufacturing, reportedly when charging or shortly after, in which Samsung swiftly responded by announcing the flaw and accepting the responsibility for their defected product, giving out shortly after they announced a huge recall campaign in which they gave refunds for return of the product or replacement for a new flawless one with no additional charges on the consumer. According to Los Angeles Times Samsung’s recall costed them at least 5.3 billion dollars.