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New Government Policy Imposes Strict Standards on Garage Sales Nationwide
Thinking of emptying out the attic to sell that Easy-Bake Oven or SpongeBob spiral notebook? Think again — each could cost you a $100,000 fine
Americans who slap $1 price tags 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."
In order to comply, stores, flea markets, charities and individuals selling used goods — in person or online — are expected to consult the commission's 24-page Handbook for Resale Stores and Product Resellers (pdf) and its Web site for a breakdown of what they can't sell.
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.
Though the CPSC says it won't be sending enforcers to garage sales or yard sales, 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.
Source: Fox News