Take a moment to check recalls before selling those used items
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has launched its Resale Round-up campaign, a program to educate consumers and resale business owners about laws preventing the resale of recalled products.
Enacted last summer, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 made it a federal offense to sell any recalled items. Violators could face criminal or civil penalties, or both.
The act also covers an array of standards for production companies to follow with regard to lead content, tracking labels and third-party testing for children's products.
Recalled items can show up in lots of places you may not have thought of, including non-profit resale stores, thrift and consignment shops, online auction sites and even your neighbor's yard sale.
Some online auction sites such as eBay have specific rules about the resale of recalled products. Its published policy prohibits listing items "that have been identified by the CPSC as hazardous to consumers and therefore subject to recall."
Repercussions for violations include listing cancellation, limits on account privileges, account suspension and loss of PowerSeller status.
Craigslist doesn't include recalled products in its items prohibited from sale, but does include a link to the CPSC's recall list for "researching whether a particular transaction is prohibited or regulated."
Non-profit resale stores, such as the Salvation Army or Goodwill Industries, require constant awareness since donation is the source of their inventories.
Bruce Gimbel, ministry chaplain at Jericho Road Ministries in Brooksville, had no knowledge of the Resale Round-Up campaign but said checking safety recalls and incoming donations is an ongoing routine.
"We monitor warnings as they come out," he said. "We have our managers mindful of those items, such as lead paint."
Gimbel seemed frustrated that he had not heard about the Resale Round-Up campaign. "We're not always made aware of these things until a good-hearted customer brings it to our attention," he said. But CPSC, the National Association of Resale & Thrift Shops, state agencies and national agencies are working together to spread the word.
If there's a yard sale in your future, be informed. The CPSC admits enforcement of the law at such sales would be minimal at best and it doesn't make sense to expect sellers to look up each and every knickknack on the 25-cent table.
But if you're selling any children's items, especially cribs, car seats, changing tables or toys, it doesn't take much to look the item up at the CPSC's recall Web site.
The agency has released a new "Handbook for Resale Stores and Product Resellers" to help resellers comply with the law. It can be found at www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/thrift/thrguid.pdf.
Look for the week's biggest recalls in BayLink each Saturday.
To learn more about the safety act and to find a full and searchable list of recalled items, visit www.cpsc.gov or call CPSC's recall hotline toll-free at 1-800-638-2772. To see the CPSC's Top Ten list of recalled children's products, visit www.cpsc.gov/roundup/roundup2009.html.