Tuesday, September 01, 2009

FedGov... Keeping Us Safe From Polly Pocket. Is There Anything They Can't Do?

How did we ever survive a garage sale or thrift store trip without them before?!


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.

The initiative, which targets toys and other products for children, enforces a new provision that makes it a crime to resell anything that's been recalled by its manufacturer.

"Those who resell recalled children's products are not only breaking the law, they are putting children's lives at risk," said Inez Tenenbaum, the recently confirmed chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The crackdown affects sellers ranging from major thrift-store operators such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army to everyday Americans cleaning out their attics for yard sales, church bazaars or - increasingly - digital hawking on eBay, Craigslist and other Web sites.

Secondhand sellers now must keep abreast of recalls for thousands of products, some of them stretching back more than a decade, to stay within the bounds of the law.


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 or churches.

"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 manufacturers' recalls.

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.


Lothrop's daughter, Laura, was upset about four years ago when Mattel changed the clothing for many of the Polly Pocket dolls from a rubber-type material to plastic and inserted small magnets to hold it on the figures.

Laura didn't like the new material or the way it fit her dolls. So, at 8, she e-mailed a complaint to Mattel. The toy giant never responded.

Now, Nancy and Laura Lothrop must do a painstaking inventory of her collection, searching for tiny model numbers to see whether they match any of the recalled items. If they find matches, they'll pull the recalled dolls and accessories from the group that they're selling.

Nancy Lothrop, though, doesn't quite understand why the dolls are being singled out.

"Many toys have small pieces that could be dangerous," she said. "My son played with army men, Lego blocks, all kinds of things with little parts. A toddler can put anything in his mouth. Parents need to have common sense. Ultimately, the parent needs to really evaluate and be watchful of what the child is playing with. We as consumers have to be careful. It really comes back to us."

All here:
Seller, beware: Feds cracking down on secondhand sales of some products - Kansas City Star

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