Having a family garage sale?Violators could face fines of up to $100,000 per infraction&up to $15 million
Posted Jan 03 2011 8:39pm
Next time you want to have your next yard sale or resale items for a little extra cash to an exchange store, be aware, you could be fined up to $15 million dollars now thanks to new regulations, under the 'Resale Roundup', issued by the CPSA under the Obama administration. This is ridiculous, especially when you consider people sell things at yard sales or to second hand stores for such a small price and most individuals or small businesses will not be able to afford the fines imposed, not to mention the potential for individuals coming back to sue because they 'accidentally' purchased an item that was recalled and someone was harmed due to user negligence. Individuals to small businesses and charities that collect used items for goodwill will now have to screen every product for CPSA safety or recalls by referring to the CPSA resale guide. The Resale Roundup prevents individuals and businesses or charities to sell any children's products that have been recalled, not sure if this will extend to other products or if it is just children's products at this time. Below is a link to the article and a guide the CPSA expects you to check before donating or selling items at your next yard sale.
The Resale Round-up has led some resale stores and charities to stop accepting children's goods altogether, something President and CEO of Goodwill Industries Jim Gibbons said has some clients concerned.
"I saw on blogs, consumers saying, 'Don't take away my ability to shop at Goodwill for children's clothing – this is how I clothe my kids and get them to school,'" Gibbons told FOXNews.com.
While the CPSA has good intentions this is a case where the government is not needed to enforce what parents should already be doing, making sure their children use and play with items as they are intended.
I understand injuries caused by certain products or sometimes death have occurred, but you can't regulate everything and leave nothing to adult supervision. I'm not sure how the government plans to enforce this and verify that all used items sold at yard sales are safe, but putting frivolous fines on individuals and small businesses will harm the individual who survives on used items and the business that stays in business reselling used items.
Americans who slap $1 pricetags on their used possessions at garage sales or bazaar events risk being slapped with fines of up to $15 million, thanks to a new government campaign.
The "Resale Round-up," launched by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, enforces new limits on lead in children's products and makes it illegal to sell any items that don't meet those limits or have been recalled for any other reason.
The strict standards were set in the 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act after a series of high-profile recalls of Chinese-made toys.
The standards were originally interpreted to apply only to new products, but now the CPSC says they apply to used items as well.
"Those who resell recalled children's products are not only breaking the law, they are putting children's lives at risk,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "Resale stores should make safety their business and check for recalled products and hazards to children."
Violators caught selling anything on the enormous list face fines of up to $100,000 per infraction and up to $15 million for a related series of infractions.
CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson says the fines are intended for large companies with serious infractions.
"CPSC is an agency that has used its penalty powers over its 30-year history against companies," Wolfson told FOXNews.com. "CPSC is not seeking to pursue penalties against individuals hosting a garage sale or yard sale, we are encouraging them to take the right steps to not resell recalled products."
But FOX News Legal Analyst Bob Massi says the law makes no distinction for families and small resellers.
"Most people having garage sales at this point don't have much anyway, so to have a fine levied against them is tantamount to harassment," Massi told FOXNews.com. "And if you or I asked 100 people about this, they would never even know the law exists."
Don Mays, senior director of product safety planning at the publisher of Consumer Reports, says the hefty penalties are necessary to have an impact.
"The former civil penalty limit of $1.87 million was too small to be an effective deterrent to large companies who flagrantly violated the law," Mays told FOXNews.com. "Mattel and its subsidiary Fisher-Price, for example, recently paid a $2.3 million penalty for importing about 2 million toys that violated the CPSC 30-year-old lead paint ban that amounts to just over one dollar per toy."
"You fine me in today's economy $1000 dollars and that would hurt me," Broochian said. "So, just make the fine bigger to them; don't take their responsibility and put it on me."
"It is scary to think that there could be such hefty fines imposed on unsuspecting households," another garage sale organizer, Patti Lombardi, told FOXNews.com. "I think I speak for many people when I say that the government spends too much time interfering in the individual citizen's personal life and this is almost bordering on the ridiculous ... what if it opens up a Pandora's box of litigation brought by the purchasers of items at garage sales?"