Many consumers in Virginia and across the country use sites like craigslist and Facebook Marketplace to find money-saving deals on used products. However, a recent warning by Consumer Reports should sound the alarm bells for anyone who purchases from these and other sites. According to the report, many of the items posted for sale are recalled items no longer sold by retail establishments.
For example, there have been at least 73 infant deaths by suffocation linked to infant inclined sleep products. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and Consumer Reports all advise parents against the use of these products. Yet scroll through many online bargain sites, and you’ll find posting after posting of these dangerous items. Consumer Reports found hundreds of recalled reclined sleepers in their investigation.
Federal law requires all retailers to remove recalled products off their shelves, but there are no laws for secondhand and used marketplaces. In their investigation, Consumer Reports also found furniture that had been recalled because of tip-over accidents (including several fatal ones). Millions of these dangerous dressers have been recalled in the past three years and are no longer available through stores, yet the investigation found dozens available on Facebook Marketplace and craigslist.
- Drop-Side Cribs Recalled Due to Entrapment, Suffocation Hazards
- Poorly Designed Cribs and Strollers Are Killing and Injuring Growing Numbers of Children
- Child Injuries Prompt Fisher-Price to Recall 11 Million Products
While online platforms say they discourage the sale of recalled products, the truth is that whatever their policies are, these warnings are usually buried somewhere in their policy pages and are not effective in preventing people from selling items that have been recalled and could be dangerous to the unsuspecting consumer who purchases it.
Consumer groups all agree that these platforms need to take the necessary steps to make sure consumers are protected and sellers are not allowed to post recalled items. One group, Kids in Dangers, wants Facebook to have an option where potential buyers can report sellers who post recalled items for sale. Facebook has yet to create any kind of option that would allow this flagging system in Marketplace.
If you are a consumer who “shops” on these platforms, there are steps you can take to make sure the product you purchase has not been recalled. These steps can also be used for products sold at thrift shops, garage sales, and flea markets.
The first thing to do is to ask the seller to provide the brand, model and serial number of the product, as well as the date the product was manufactured. A buyer can take this information and look up to see if the product was recalled on the CPSC website. When shopping at thrift shops, find out what type of screening process the owners have for recalled products, if any. This is especially important when purchasing products for infants and children. If you do see a recalled product for sale, let the seller know right away.
Contact the Legal Team of Shapiro & Appleton
At Shapiro & Appleton, our Virginia product liability attorneys know how devastating a defective product accident can be for a family. Several years ago, our firm represented the estate of a man who was killed when the lawnmower he was on exploded and the victim burned to death. Our legal team was able to prove that not only did the manufacturer know about the defective design but failed to notify owners after they had redesigned the defect to let them know of the danger.
If you or someone in your family has been a victim of a defective or dangerous product, contact a Virginia product liability attorney today at 800-752-0042 for a free and confidential case evaluation.