Seller Beware: Stricter Product Resale Rules Apply on eBay, Sidewalk

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By Admin on May 27, 2009 12:02 PM

That 'As-Is' Tag Won't Necessarily Cut It, Legally Speaking

From televisions to children's toys, if you purchase a new consumer product from a retailer, you're likely aware of the legal remedies available to you if the product turns out to be defective. But you may not know that some degree of legal responsibility also falls on you as a reseller if you turn around and sell those products, in online auctions or even in garage sales.

That's because new federal laws on the sale of used products apply not only to owners of thrift stores and consignment shops, but also to people who sell items privately. How far do a reseller's legal responsibilities go under the new and stricter federal regulations on the sale of consumer products, and what kinds of products carry special rules? Before you hold that sidewalk sale after your spring cleaning -- or if you're a frequent buyer of used consumer products -- keep the following tips in mind.

Resale of Recalled Products. Under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, ANY selling of recalled products is now unlawful. That means, if you sell a defective product that has been recalled by the manufacturer or federal safety officials, you may be held legally responsible for any injury it causes. So, it's a good idea to pay attention to recent Consumer Product Recalls, from the CPSC. 

Lead and Phthalates. New and stricter restrictions are placed on the resale of products that contain lead and certain types of phthalates, especially in certain toys and child care products, under the new federal product safety laws. Learn more: CPSC Spells Out Enforcement Policy for New Lead Limits in Children's Products.

Do I Need to Test Products I Sell? If you sell consumer products in online auctions and garage sales (and are not considered a manufacturer under the new product laws), you aren't required to test the products you sell for lead and phthalates, but you cannot knowingly sell children’s products that violate federal standards on the safe levels of these harmful materials. Learn more: Guidance on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.