There has been a lot of product related deaths in the US. In 2008, there are 25 reported toy-related deaths in children below 15 years of age while there were 17 reported deaths in 2010 in the US alone (Source: There are other categories of consumer safety related issues, such as asbestos poisoning, mercury poisoning, carbon monoxide poisoning, amusement rides related injuries and deaths, as well as electrocution and fires started by different products. The key to avoiding these kinds of incidents is to become a smart consumer.

Check for Product Safety Recalls

So you are buying a second-hand car at a very low price. You are enticed to but this model since it has been barely used and yet you’re getting it at almost a quarter of its original price. But before you buy a specific product, you should always do some research. The product that you will be buying at a very low price might have been recalled by its manufacturer. You should always be wary of a product that is sold at a very low price, since you might be getting more trouble than it is worth.

Research Before You Buy

In this day and age, everything can be found on the Internet. Before you buy a product, do some research about it. Look for similar brands, check market prices and look for some product reviews. This way, you can save yourself from repairs and also avoid accidents. Is this brand better than this brand?  This brand is cheaper, but is it better?  Have there been any recalls or safety issues with this brand?  Does this brand use mercury or asbestos?  These are just some of the questions that you should be able to answer before finally purchasing a specific product.

Check the Store For Authenticity 

This wouldn’t be a problem if you bought your refrigerator from a shopping mall. You’ll just have to go back to the shop if there is any problem with your product. But what if you bought something online, and with your credit card?  Before purchasing a big item from an online store, you should always check the store for authenticity. There is a register of online stores available in most cities, or if not, you can surely find a review about that store somewhere. If you don’t want to be unsure, just make an extra effort to go down to the local shopping mall to buy some furniture or appliances.

Avoid Providing More than Necessary Information

Sure, the store needs your credit card number and your signature. In most cases, the store would verify your identity with your bank, and the bank would ask some questions, but that’s it. If you think that the store clerk, or the “bank personnel” on the other end of the line seems a bit too inquisitive, avoid answering their questions.

Make Sure to Ask for a Receipt

After making a purchase, always ask for a receipt. Make sure that the information on the receipt can be read easily, and that the name of the store is visible. You would need the receipt in claiming your warranty or if you need to return your product. In case that the store refuses to provide you with any service, you can also use the receipt to file a complaint against the store.

These are just some reminders to help you be a smart consumer. Always check before you purchase to avoid injuries and deaths.

Marissa Olson is a writer and an educator. She writes for a law firm in Southern California that specializes in personal injury and wrongful death cases.