Chapters Indigo Shows How To Handle A Product Recall

I’ve written occasionally about companies that have messed-up their issues management, so it’s nice to write occasionally about a company that got it right.

I received an email from Canadian book retailer Chapters Indigo this afternoon. I’m part of the company’s iRewards loyalty program, so this is nothing new. Normally I delete the emails after a quick glance, but this one caught my eye:

It has been brought to our attention that our Mother’s Day Gift with Purchase Tote Bag has been associated with causing minor skin irritations in a few cases. Initial testing has revealed elements found in the manufacturing of these bags may cause these irritations.

The health and safety of our customers and staff are of the highest priority and we wish to avoid any possible risk. We ask those who have received the blue tote bag with a green lining as the Mother’s Day Gift with Purchase in-store only between April 30th and May 2nd to return the tote to any Chapters or Indigo store for a $20 gift card.

No other tote bags or products in our assortment are affected in any way by this voluntary recall.

We regret any inconvenience this may have caused.

The email links through to a page on the Chapters Indigo website with more information.

A few things I think Chapters Indigo got right:

  • They proactively put out a voluntary recall.
  • They contacted their most loyal customers to let them know.
  • They didn’t try to hide the recall – they put a notice of the recall on their homepage.
  • They provided more information for people that want it, and linked to their help desk for people who want even more.
  • They led with the most important message: “The health and safety of our customers and staff are of the highest priority.”
  • They generated goodwill by offering $20 gift cards in exchange for bags that were originally given away for free.

The only thing I think I would change is to provide a phone number if people wanted more information, rather than making them navigate the confusing ‘help desk’ web page.

Time will tell if Chapters Indigo has successfully kept this issue from escalating. Personally I think they’ve done a pretty good job so far.

What do you think? Did they do a good job?

  • I agree, Dave. It could have remained a small, marginalized issue, but Chapters Indigo decided to “out” the problem before it became a full-blown issue. By admitting the error, and offering compensation to their customers, the company scores high points for goodwill.