McDonalds Shrek glass recall leaves customers wondering what to do

McDonalds Shrek glass recall was announced June 4, but details on how to return the 12 million cadmium-tainted glasses won't be available until June 8.

Adam Lau/AP
Jasmine Matta poses for a portrait June 4 behind her favorite Shrek-themed glasses, which were sold at McDonald's stores for $2. Cadmium has been discovered in the painted design of the glasses, prompting the McDonalds Shrek glass recall.

McDonald’s Shrek glass recall appeared to shut down the entry page of the company’s website for a short period Friday.

The page was inaccessible to at least some computers in the morning, perhaps because owners of the 12 million cadmium-tainted drinking glasses were logging on to figure out what to do with the glasses.

Unfortunately, once they did manage to get through online, they didn’t learn much beyond the basics.

No, customers should not keep using the glasses. But they shouldn't throw them away, either. McDonalds wants the glasses back. And it will pay a full refund in cash to get them.

But details about how to claim the refund or send the glasses back remain hazy. The company isn't releasing those instructions until Tuesday, June 8.

McDonalds is urging customers to log on to its special recall website when the details become available.

Some additional information did emerge from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the federal agency that handles consumer complaints about products.

Consumers who bought a McDonalds Shrek glass – or any other recalled product, for that matter – don't need a receipt to get a refund, said Patty Davis, a CPSC spokeswoman. [Editor's note: this paragraph was changed to reflect updated recall information provided by McDonald's.]

Other questions about the process – such as who will pay for postage – remain up in the air. Presumably, customers will find out June 8 when the company releases details.

McDonalds' website emphasizes that its glasses (which were made in the US) met federal and state safety requirements when manufactured and distributed.

“However, in light of the CPSC’s evolving assessment of standards for consumer products, McDonald’s determined in an abundance of caution that a voluntary recall of the Shrek Forever After glassware is appropriate,” the company said in a statement June 4.

Why McDonalds would issue a recall June 4 but withhold details about it until June 8 might leave some consumers scratching their heads.

Part of the reason for the quick recall announcement may be the unusual way that it originated. An anonymous tipster warned Rep. Jackie Speier (D) of California last week that there were traces of cadmium in the glasses’ cartoon designs.

Her office alerted the CPSC, which had the glasses tested. But because the results were in the hands of a high-profile political figure, the company may have acted before working out all the details in order to stay ahead of any potential controversy.

In a statement posted on her website this morning, Representative Speier praised McDonald's for its voluntary recall but criticized the lax testing standards that allowed the cadmium-tainted glasses to be sold in the first place.

McDonalds spokesmen didn't return phone calls and declined to answer e-mailed questions about the website shutdown or the delay in releasing details about the recall.

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