CPSIA and your tag sale

by Walter Olson on May 28, 2009

paperdollsfrench2Readers of this site may have known already, but the Kansas City Star spells it out for its readers: “the notoriously broad and confusing federal Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act applies to you and your front yard.” As the CPSC’s 27-page booklet for resellers (PDF) warns, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” Which is especially problematic since even if you do study up on it, as Adele Meyer, executive director of the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops, reminds us, “the way it was written, it’s almost impossible to abide by this law.”

{ 6 comments }

1 Robert 05.28.09 at 11:42 pm

I smell a business opportunity, more profitable than ADA lawsuits: 1) Go to yard sales and buy toys 2) Get them lead tested 3) Sue (and Profit!)

2 Jim Collins 05.29.09 at 8:31 am

I don’t think that would work. If the toy was manufactured and unaltered, wouldn’t the manufacturer be liable?

3 Robert 05.29.09 at 10:48 am

No! That’s the big risk of CPSIA, as I’ve gleaned from reading here. The RETAILER has the liability–both Criminal and Civil. The item may have been perfectly legal when manufactured, so the manufacturer has no liability.

4 Greg 05.29.09 at 2:03 pm

Actually, complying with the CPSIA’s requirements is dead simple for people holding yard sales: simply don’t sell anything intended for children 12 years and younger. Just throw it away. Problem solved!

5 Doug 05.29.09 at 2:10 pm

I have, in fact, been considering going to yard sales, buying toys, testing and then suing for $$$. One problem is who may sue. No problem, just go a state with a Democratic Attorney General and get him to appoint you some kind of special counsel with power to prosecute on his behalf. Contribute some to his campaign for reelection and your in the money.

6 BG 05.29.09 at 10:06 pm

Doug, Make sure your victim is from the right side of town or it won’t matter if you win. My guess is that lower income areas won’t be prosecuted because it will be a waste of $$. It will be the black market the WackyHermit foretold–the poor can sell and anyone can buy so long as it came from the yard/garage.

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