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Hubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble...

Hubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble...

In the run up to Hallowe’en, stories of the unexplained are par for the course.  Social media was abuzz earlier in the week with reports of a man seen flying past an Airbus over Macclesfield at 3,500ft, while earlier this month, a triangular UFO was reportedly seen flying over Paris.

Asda is perhaps not the most obvious scene for a tale of the unexpected, however it was here, in store, where reports of prosecco bottles shattering of their own volition have led to customer complaints, bottles falling from the shelves, and ultimately, a product recall.

Asda has reported to have dealt with only a handful of complaints, in addition to six in-store instances of the Prosecco Spumante Extra Dry bottles shattering.  Nevertheless, as a precaution, thousands of bottles in the same batch have been removed from the shelves and have been recalled from customers for a refund, with a warning that the bottles may cause injury.  To date, no instances of injury to individuals have been reported. 

When faced with a deficiency in a major product, a company’s reaction to the problem can have a greater impact on its future than the product deficiency itself.  Manufacturers and distributors who, like Asda, immediately recall the affected items, take responsibility for the issue and compensate consumers, can actually increase confidence in the company brand, and sales can recover quickly.  Conversely, a failure to take responsibility and act quickly can have disastrous consequences for a brand’s reputation.

Production of goods for public consumption will always carry risks; this is unavoidable.  The demise of a product or brand as a result of a major issue is not.  To avoid brand damage, the prudent manufacturer should provide clear, concise warnings for all products, keep abreast of potential developments in their product range and be ready to take responsibility when issues do arise.  Otherwise, the consequences could be rather scary…

Pauline McFadden
Senior Solicitor

Burness admin