Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

August 22, 2009


James Rosen, McClatchy Newspapers - 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. . . 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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ya? Just try to prove that you bought that item at My garage sale!

August 23, 2009 11:03 AM  
Anonymous robbie said...

Yeah, that's the good thing about yard sales...no receipts, no paper trail, no corporate monitoring and tracking. Couple this with the crackdown on lemonade stands and I'd say this country has achieved the "socialism" the right wingnutters have decried for decades, all of their own creation.

August 23, 2009 12:27 PM  
Anonymous cabdriver said...

Come on...civil confiscation is sufficient. And citizen-initiated complaints made to the thrift stores or secondhand mechants directly to the managers or owners ought to be the primary means of regulation and enforcement.

I've found the occasional recalled product in my thrift store browsing. I think it's good that the problem is getting attention, because from now on I'll inform the store managers of the problem. And I think that it would be most helpful for the government to provide a comprehensive list of recalled unsafe household goods, and make copies available for free to the retail stores in question through agencies like the Better Business Bureau, and posted on-line.

But it's ridiculous to hold secondhand stores criminally- or even civilly- liable for oversights that they can't possibly hope to avoid with 100% success. I would hope that the regulatory authorities would reconsider the idea of a legal crackdown.

August 23, 2009 4:48 PM  

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