The purpose of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act is to help sellers of used products identify types of potentially hazardous products that could harm children or others. 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.
The Bush era Congress passed the “Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act” in August of 2008. It was, as most legislation, an overreaction to the Chinese toy scare.
It was designed to “require extensive testing of any toy, book, or item of clothing intended forkids under the age of 12.”
But ambitious bureaucrats have taken the bill and interpreted it to mean “used” toys as well. And now it appears that CPSC enforcers are going to be fanning out across the country in search of garage sales and church bazzars that are not in compliance.
James Rosen of McClatchy reported on the efforts of the CPSC:
If you’re planning a garage sale or organizing a church bazaar, you’d best beware: You could be breaking a new federal law. As part of a campaign called Resale Roundup, the federal government is cracking down on the secondhand sales of dangerous and defective products. The initiative, which targets toys and other products for children, enforces a new provision that makes it a crime to resell anything that’s been recalled by its manufacturer.
“Those who resell recalled children’s products are not only breaking the law, they are putting children’s lives at risk,” said Inez Tenenbaum, the recently confirmed chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The crackdown affects sellers ranging from major thrift-store operators such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army to everyday Americans cleaning out their attics for yard sales, church bazaars or – increasingly – digital hawking on eBay, Craigslist and other Web sites.
Secondhand sellers now must keep abreast of recalls for thousands of products, some of them stretching back more than a decade, to stay within the bounds of the law.
Staffers for the federal agency are fanning out across the country to conduct training seminars on the regulations at dozens of thrift shops.
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