Generally, 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.
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