Seller Beware: New Federal Program Allows for Casual Sellers to Be Fined for Up to $15 Million

0_61_oven320Generally, the law distinguishes between casual buyers and commercial sellers in tort and criminal law. For example, product liability for defects does not extend to garage sales and transactions between private individuals. However, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning that the government will now be enforcing rules under the “Resale Round-up” program that can result in fines of $15 million for that Easy-Bake Oven that you want to unload.

The new program seeks to punish those who sell products containing lead and recalled items, often from China.

In the guidelines below, the government warns casual sellers:

Under the new law, it is now illegal to sell ANY recalled product (for adults as well as children). If you are in the business of reselling products, you are expected to know the laws, rules and regulations that apply to your business, including whether or not a product you are selling has been recalled for a safety issue. Before taking a product into inventory or selling it, check the CPSC Web site for dangerous recalled products, including cribs, play yards, strollers, high chairs, toys with magnets, toys that are choking hazards, and other products. You can search by product type, company name, product description, hazard, country of manufacture and by the month and year in which the recall took place. It is against the law to sell a recalled product; check the CPSC Web site or www.recalls.gov before selling.

Whether it is a flea market or a garage sale, you can be held for fines of $100,000 and up to $15 million for related violations for everything from beanbag chairs to Halogen lamps.

For the federal guidelines, click here.
For the full story, click

9 thoughts on “Seller Beware: New Federal Program Allows for Casual Sellers to Be Fined for Up to $15 Million”

  1. This is stupid..there should be a clause for ,,recalled toy collectors who never intend to take toy out of box..as long as the toy is permanently labeled as recalled.

  2. It’s a child’s parent’s responsibility to protect their kids not anybody else’s you morons. If something is dangerous, then the kinds damn parent’s shouldn’t buy it for them.

  3. Sounds to me like they’re closing a loophole that allowed professional resellers (not those selling personal items on the used market) to escape liability.

    If this was pushed by the retail sales industry to “suppress competition”, then good for them. Allowing flea marketers and ebay sellers to benefit from selling recalled items isn’t just unfair to them, it is dangerous for the public.

    And let’s not even discuss how important this change is in preventing unscrupulous businesses from quietly dumping their inventory on the resale market at the first hint of a safety issue. The used market for strollers and cribs is HUGE. You’d prefer an open season on infants? Perhaps maybe we should hold people accountable when they make a buck selling something, that they check the freely available resources to ensure they’re not endangering someone else’s child.

    “If you are in the business of reselling products, you are expected to know the laws”

    Nothing appears to indicate this includes any /casual/ sellers, let alone focuses on them. Do I have to go read the entire source article to understand why you think this would cover garage sales, Jonathan?

  4. In my neck of the words there are a zillion ‘Dollar Tree’, Dollar Store’, and ‘Big Lot’ type stores, they buy overstock and buy heaps of cheap stuff from China and India. They are less expensive than WalMart and the other big box stores. Also, garage sales and flea markets are supposed to have a license but that doesn’t happen often I’m betting. The big boxes and the city (or county) is losing income.

    MikeS is on the right track following the money IMO.

  5. Can’t just throw it in the dump, profits to be made. See what happened to the infant formula in South America. It was deemed hazardous by the FDA and the rest of the story goes. Profits are to be made.

    And by the way, some sellers on Ebay are not casual sellers anymore.

  6. Good Afternoon Mike,

    We need to recycle and such nonsensical programs scare or encourage people into just throwing things in the dump and be done with it.

  7. FFLEO,
    Bad decisions are often made with the best of intentions. In this instance the cynic in me wonders how much push for this regulation was made by the retail sales industry.

  8. The government agents should instead investigate, at a cost of $1.35 billion, why in tarnashion there ever was a market for fleas…

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