The Good, The Bad, and the Frustrating of Resale Consumer Protection
Resale consumer protection laws through The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, (CPSC), has saved countless lives by testing and recalling products that aren’t safe.
It’s nearly impossible for anyone to keep up with all the recalls, and it’s illegal for resellers, (yes, even at garage sales), to sell anything that’s been recalled.
In response, resellers stop carrying any merchandise that has a high potential for being on the recalled list. The downside is all safe merchandise in those categories is thrown out with the recalled merchandise.
At the top of the list is baby gear – car seats, strollers, cribs, high chairs, and so much more. We all wants to put safety first, but it comes with a price:
- Resellers lose a lot of revenue from lost sales.
- Buyers don’t have the low-cost option and are forced to pay retail prices, even if it’s a grandparent who will be using things only once when the family comes to visit.
- Donors have few choices for disposing of these items. There is no clear recommendation for how to dispose of recalled items, accept returning them to the manufacturer, and it isn’t clear how the manufacturers dispose of them, either.
A partial answer is instead of attempting to follow all the recalls, verify individual items haven’t been recalled. At the CPSC’s website, you can enter in a product and check it’s status. Be sure to put in the specifics like the manufacturer and model number, and not just “stroller”.
You’re cleared to buy, sell, or donate anything that isn’t on the list.
The Safety Check Doesn’t Stop There
That dreaded lead is still lurking everywhere, and small children are the most susceptible to the poison. For example,
- 2004 – the threat of lead poisoning from toy jewelry led the CPSC to conduct a voluntary recall of 150 million pieces of metal toy jewelry sold widely in vending machines.
- 2007 – the CPSC issued a press release announcing the Fisher-Price recall of 967,000 toys due to lead poisoning hazard.
In 1978, the U.S. banned lead in house paint, children’s products, dishes, and cookware. The best resale consumer protection comes from common sense, like telling you not to purchase a vintage toy from the 1950’s, with peeling paint and give it to a child.
Unfortunately, the ban didn’t stop the problem entirely, as lead is still used in many countries. China has no lead restrictions, and they account for 80% of our toy imports.
Another good source for product information is Healthy Stuff at the EcoCenter.org
Sometimes it feels we aren’t safe no matter what we do, right? But the GOOD NEWS is knowledge about resale consumer protection is our best safety net.
Please share any information you have with the rest of us so we can be more informed consumers!!