You never know what you might find at a yard sale or on Craigslist, from good deals to ripoffs.
These days, the concerns about scams keep us on our toes.
Well, here's another wrinkle to consider when out on your scavenger hunts: Avoid recalled items offered for resale.
To the vendor, know that it's illegal to sell recalled products, even at a yard sale, flea market or online, such as posting it on Craiglist.
To the consumer, well, just beware.
The Wall Street Journal this week pointed at a federal law signed last year that made it illegal for anyone — commercial businesses or individuals — to sell recalled products.
The question for the would-be yard sale seller and the consumer is, how do I know if the product has been recalled?
"It's easy to determine whether you have a recalled product or not," said Patty Davis, spokeswoman for the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission. "It's easy if you do a quick inventory of what you have."
Easy? There are just six product categories consumers have to search through. But click the links and you'll find pages of products.
It's easy, perhaps, but tedious for sure.
There are categories for child products (not including toys), toys, household products, outdoor products, sports and recreation products and specialty products.
And there's another issue:
"Isn't there a problem with enforcement?" said Bill Newton, the Florida Consumer Action Network. "It's always been buyer beware."
Violations of the law usually result in civil fines. Those sanctions are largely for retailers who violate the law.
But the commission would like people to show some concern for their neighbors.
"Consumers who hold yard sales do need to be responsible with what they're selling," Davis said. "Recalled products have been recalled for a reason: They can be dangerous."
So here's the Edge:
• If you're selling, conduct a full inventory. Before you put out your items for sale, completely document the products with brand and model.
• If you're buying, check to see if it is something that would be considered for a recall and research it yourself. Obviously, once you buy it, it's probably yours, but at least you can know whether it's safe to use.
• Visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site at www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerel.html to ensure the products you are selling have not been recalled.
Ivan Penn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 892-2332.