August 20, 2011
“Are you in danger?” asked SafetyBook’s Vishal Maru, as I strolled through the stalls at Chicago’s TechWeek.
“Uh…no?” I replied hesitantly.
“How do you know?”
That, in a nutshell, is the problem that SafetyBook’s recall monitoring service addresses. SafetyBook estimates that of the 65 million products recalled in 2010, 47 million endangered children; and 20 million cars were recalled last year, many from Toyota. Most owners are unaware of these recalls because few register their products. To help protect them, the US government released an official app in 2010 with a recall database–but with so many recalls, changing daily, searching is not feasible.
In an age of information overload, founder Dan Verakis notes the irony of this lack of information. “Bloomingdale’s can send me a custom email tailored to my clothing preferences about a sale, but if my microwave is going to burn my house down, chances are the manufacturer doesn’t know how to reach me,” says Verakis, whose background is in corporate crisis management.
SafetyBook, pulling recall info from various government agencies, can reach you. Just input information about your children’s products, home appliances, or automobiles, and you will receive email alerts about questionable items. You can also transfer items to friends and connect with cautious consumers on SafetyBook forums.
At $18 for an unlimited, lifetime membership—or free for up to three items—SafetyBook is a fairly simple sell. The only drawback is that it doesn’t cover Food and Drug Administration recalls.
In short, Verakis says, “We’re trying to make the world a safer place.”
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