"[WASHINGTON] 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. "
"... a spokesman for the agency, said it wouldn't be dispatching
bureaucratic storm troopers into private homes to see whether people were
selling recalled products from their garages, yards or churches."
Remember, though, it's not against the law for the government to lie to us.
It's for the children.
Staffers for the federal agency are fanning out across the country to
conduct training seminars on the regulations at dozens of thrift shops.
"Even before this law, we had good mechanisms in place for pulling
recalled products," said Jim Gibbons, the chief executive of Goodwill.
"The law just kicks it up a notch, so Goodwills around the country will
continue to improve our process."
Scott Wolfson, a spokesman for the agency, said it wouldn't be
dispatching bureaucratic storm troopers into private homes to see
whether people were selling recalled products from their garages, yards
"We're not looking to come across as being heavy-handed," he said. "We
want to make sure that everybody knows what the rules of engagement are
to help spur greater compliance, so that enforcement becomes less of an
issue. But we're still going to enforce."
The agency is working with eBay, Wolfson said, to help the online sales
giant install software filters that will flag auction items subject to
The commission's Internet surveillance unit is monitoring Craigslist and
other "top auction and reselling sites" for recalled goods. If the
agency discovers that a recalled product has been sold online, it will
try to find and inform the buyer, Wolfson said.
Adele Meyer is the executive director of the National Association of
Resale and Thrift Shops, which represents more than 1,100 store owners.
"Even before it was criminal to resell recalled goods, our members have
always been diligent because children's safety is always foremost in
their minds," she said. "But having consumers look out for recalled
products that are sold at garage sales and flea markets, that is a
problem, and hopefully this law will help."
Interesting because when you first buy thing something in some
countries they have 'Fitness for use ' legislation.
This makes sure that if you buy, say, a toaster or any other appliance
or service, but it burns out after too short a time or doesn't work as
it should, regardless of what warranty is offered, the supplier/
manufacturer MUST ether replace or repair.
USA and Canada don't have that legislation; which is designed to
ensure sale of products 'Fit for the use intended' and fit to be used
safely and for a suitable period of time. In other words to ensure
'you get your money's worth'!
What's idea of this USA check on used goods? To force more goods out
of the market in order to import more stuff
from ....................... ???? Or to try and collect sales tax,
again. on items that were retailed years ago!
One supposes there is always some risk (may not work properly) when
buying at a flea market or fundraising church-basement sale. That's
where judgement comes into play. We bought an electric drill for a few
bucks, once. It failed quite quickly but was happy to take some parts
off it to fix another older and broken one. And old light fixtures and
table lamps can sometimes be rebuilt more artistically and fitted with
And gee; a large percentage of our furniture was bought second hand
and or fixed/up.
And a used dartboard or fishing pole, or model train set or old books/
magazines are just 'previously used items'. Whether we bought them at
a yard sale for a buck or two or they were given to us by uncle Joe!
Maybe Canada is different, but in every US State with which I am
familiar, sales tax is payable on used items sold by a business (not at
a garage sale).
It's not just a question of items being unserviceable. Some are unsafe:
a house in our community burned down when the tenant went to collect
other items after plugging in the used refrigerator she had just bought.
Perhaps the compressor had seized up and the motor overheated and caused
the fire -- I don't know the details. (To further complicate matters,
the house is in the "Historic District," so the Historical Commission
wants it restored to period-appropriate condition, while the owner's
insurance policy covers only normal "replacement cost"; there is a
I could not give any of my late parents' electrical appliances to their
church in the UK for the thrift shop because they were not allowed to
resell them without having them inspected by an electrician and
certified safe. This would have cost more than they could have sold them
The new regulations say that a book published before 1986 (or almost
anything else) must be tested for lead content before it can be accessed by
children. Inasmuch as lead testing costs upwards of $100, a HUGE swath of
children's books must be removed from libraries and cannot be resold.
Consider other stuff
This regulation also applies to twenty-year old cribs, toys, strollers, car
seats, little red wagon, roller skates, hand-me-down clothesclothing (no,
you can't use your grandmother's Christening gown), etc.
They don't say that at all. Only newly manufactured goods must be
certified. Old goods shouldn't be sold for use by children if there is
reason to believe they exceed the limits, but there is no penalty. Lead
was phased out of ink about 1980, so Congress decided books printed
before 1985 were presumed dangerous.
It doesn't affect lending, but librarians are afraid they might be
affected someday. Nancy Davenport, interim director of library services
at the District of Columbia Public Library, claimed that if the law were
changed to prohibit lending, 110,000 of the system's 650,000 children's
books would have to be discarded.
I think she's stretching it. I used to work in the children's
department of a municipal library that was 100 years old. There were
lots of books with heavy-duty bindings and lots of mended books, but if
you wanted anything over ten years old, you had to go around the corner
to the young adults section. Kids are rough on library books.
If someday the law prohibits libraries from lending children's books
printed before 1985, they will be more than 25 years old.
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