• 5088 sales this week!  

Laws relating to selling used goods

There was a lot of commotion last year when the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 was about to go into effect. The biggest issue was the resale of various goods by second-hand stores and hand-made items made by artists throughout the country. What had everyone up in arms was the requirement for these merchants to test every single piece of merchandise for various hazardous materials. Prior to revisions to the law being made, even clothing couldn't be re-sold without testing. This "feel good" law did absolutely nothing to hold China accountable for the vast amount of poisonous products they sell with false documentation about the contents.

In an October 2009 article by Mark Nestmann, he warns about the potential ramifications of selling recalled goods. I think he's gone a little overboard with regard to the risks. Or perhaps I just don't his sense of humor. In any case, I'm guessing nobody from the Consumer Product Safety Commission is going to be shopping at my yard sale and it would be tough to prove where one bought a particular item second-hand. That said, as an upstanding member of society, and one with a conscience, I don't sell stuff that I deem dangerous, especially when it comes to products for kids. Am I going to look up every item I have for sale to make sure it's never been recalled? Not likely, but then half of the stuff in my house was bought second-hand to start off with.

Details can be found in the CFTC publication, a "Handbook for Resale Stores and Product Resellers." It clearly states "CPSC’s laws and regulations apply to anyone who sells or distributes consumer products. This includes thrift stores, consignment stores, charities, and individuals holding yard sales and flea markets." It further states, "... resellers... cannot knowingly sell products that do not meet the requirements of the law." Knowingly? Sounds like a gray area, but as the 20 page PDF states, ignorance of the law is no excuse. Hmmm. Ignorance of the law, maybe not, but ignorance of the products being considered "dangerous" would be another matter in my mind. Therefore it wouldn't be knowingly. But I'm not a lawyer, so don't listen to me!

Some products, like baby rattles containing lead, I get. But so many of the products on the recall lists are there because of stupid users. Natural selection, once more is being negated by a government program.

What are your thoughts? Do you have any products you're still using that have been recalled? How did YOU survive childhood with all the danger? Without the government protecting us?