Are Kids in Danger From Defective Merchandise Advertised For Sale On the Internet?

American consumers are always searching for a good deal to steal, either from television, newspaper ads, craiglist, ebay, Amazon, different e-commerce blogs and websites, including any other form of advertisements to save money on used products offered for sale.

It’s no secret; a good, cheaper deal is almost always a good deal.

Purchase of second hand (used) products serves as a way to save buyers money.

People often have a lot of valuable, usable products lying around their homes, storage rooms, closets and garages. These are fair game to be resold online to benefit the buyer, merchants and individual sellers.

What’s important to know about buying quality brand online products is that not everyone follows the daily news of the serious recall of products for safety reasons. Recalls of consumer products by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) are frequently reported nationwide by the media.

product recalled do not resell
Product recalled do not resell.

The fact that many people are unaware of CPSC recalled products leads to thousands of very faulty and dangerous products for resale on secondhand markets.

And, according to Consumer Reports(CR), there are no overseers to regulate the resale of recalled dangerous products that appear on markets that specialize in reselling such items. These include items that have been responsible for injuries and death of children.

“Resale platforms should do much more to put safety first by tracking recalls and actively blocking the sale of recalled goods,” says William Wallace, CR’s manager of home and safety policy.

“These platforms have a responsibility to all of their users to keep their marketplace free of dangerous products,” Wallace said.

An in-depth investigation by Consumer Reports revealed the disturbing overload of safety-recalled products available for sale on well-known places like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. These recalled products include numerous items of furniture, toys, utensils, and of most concern, are baby products.

For example, Consumer Reports discovered approximately a dozen recalled Ikea dressers listed for sale on Craiglist and Facebook Marketplace. These particular items were recalled due to “weight issues” that were capable of causing the dresser to fall forward, particularly upon a vulnerable child.

If somehow a child was positioned in front of the dresser during a tornando or bad thunderstorm, the dresser would likely fall on top of the child, causing serious injury, or worse, death. These Ikea dressers don’t meet the industry’s safety standard for stability because they’ve been linked to hundreds of fall-over accidents, including the deaths of several children. Millions of the dressers were recalled in 2016.

Widely known baby products such as the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper and other inclined sleepers designed for infants were recalled due to their dangerous defect causing the death of infants.

There’s one “Fisher Price Sleeper” product recalled by Consumer Product Safety Commission(CPSC) in April, due to suffocation issues, resulting in the deaths of at least 73 children.

American Academy of Pediatrics, CPSC and other child safety groups have continually advised consumers against the use of infant-inclined sleep products. In October, a U.S. government-commissioned study confirmed that infant inclined sleepers drastically increase the risk of infant suffocation.

Fisher-Price also recalled another of their inclined sleepers called the Ultra Lite Day and Night Play Yard. Another company, Dorel, recalled a combined total of 694,000 inclined infant rocking sleepers sponsored by Eddie Bauer, Disney and Kiss II.

“The risk here is in the incline,” says Dr. Syeda Anna Husain, M.D., Founder of Pure Direct Pediatrics.

“In an inclined sleeper, not only is it that (infants) could possibly occlude their airway with their head dipping down, but they could also roll with their face in a face-down position, thus increasing the risk of infant suffocation,” Husain explained in an online published report.

Any product with inclines of more than 10 degrees will pose these dangers, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says.

“A baby should always be put to sleep on a flat surface in a crib or bassinet, not a car seat, inclined sleeper or a bouncer,” Dr. Husain, further said in the news article.

Despite the products’ high degree of danger, places like Facebook Marketplace, Consumer Reports, added into their study, remained listed with solid good reviews from parents.

Critics from the organization Kids in Danger argue there are no safeguards in place for users to flag listings for dangerous, recalled items. Rock ‘n Play sleepers were recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in April.

The Law Against Resale of FDA Recalled Products

Retailers, according to consumer laws, must pull recalled items from public sale. What many resellers of recalled products don’t know is that they’re breaking the law big time by reselling recalled products posted on secondhand markets.

And it doesn’t matter period if a person isn’t aware of a product recall or the law; websites, blogs and e-commerce stores that host the listing of recalled products should know it is wrong to allow people to resell bad products.

Therefore, either they know or totally ignore the law that governs the prohibition of resale of recalled products because based on Consumer Reports’ study of online markets like Craiglist and Facebook Marketplace the group found hundreds of unsafe infant sleepers for sale.

Which conjures up an important, critical question.

Do these websites intentionally allow this?

Actually, they really don’t. Both Craiglist and Facebook discourage resale of recalled defective products. But their written warnings are embedded deep into their policy pages, which, most likely, eager merchandise sellers either don’t pay attention to – or if they do, they ignore it to make money.

Jan Hinson, a South Carolina lawyer, said her grandson nearly died in a Rock ‘n Play Sleeper but the child was quickly resuscitated. Hinson insists that websites that specialize in reselling used products should make efforts to educate users about purchasing recalled products.

“Their posts should bounce back to them with an alert saying it is unlawful to resell this product,” she said, in the Consumer Report article.

Even politicans agree with Hinson and other safety product advocates.

This past April, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) wrote a concerned letter to Facebook, Craiglist, and additional online resale sites, urging the owners to install more effective tools and practices to protect users from buying dangerous recalled products online.

“I trust that many parents and caregivers selling their old Rock ‘n Plays(on Craiglist and Facebook Marketplace) are not intentionally trying to offload their deadly products, and do not want to be subject to thousands of dollars in fines,” Blumenthal wrote. Blumenthal further asked the websites to use online tools to reject recalled items posted online for sale.

Ikea, the dresser company, issued the following statement:

“As part of the July 2016 recall, letters were sent to Amazon, Craiglist, and eBay to inform them of the recall so they could take appropriate action.”

Two other reseller stores, U.S. based eBay and Kijiji, a very popular Canadian website, heeded warnings about the resale of dangerous products.

An eBay spokesman told a Consumer Reports reporter the company works hand-in-hand with CPSC authorities and manufacturers to “monitor and prohibit harmful and recalled goods listed on our marketplace.” Moreover, website visitors can easily report an item, which will trigger eBay staff to cross-reference an item with the CPSC.

A Kijiji spokesperson reported an approach similar to eBay by utilizing staffers including automation to find recalled products.

CPSC officials said online buyers must watch out for key words on reseller sites that fly under the spy watch.

“We’ve found the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper listed for sale on Craiglist and Facebook as ‘babysleeper/rocker’, ‘baby bouncer’, ‘baby boy floor cradle’ and ‘bassinet’, among other labels.”

Bumbo seats posted for sale on Facebook Marketplace were also once recalled. Bumbo products should not be sold without a safety belt.

In a 2012 recall for over 4 million Bumbo Baby Seats, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said babies could still maneuver out of it and fall from the seat. The Consumer Commission also pointed out the seats are dangerous if the Bumbo seats are used at heights while the child is perched on a table top or kitchen counter.

The company that made the Bumbo Seats issued a recall after 50 or more babies were injured after falling out of the seats. A restraint belt was subsequently put into the seat for extra protection. The seat is safer only if it has a safety belt, yet a Consumer Reports investigation discovered several Bumbo seats for sale online without the safety belt.

If an individual spots a Bumbo Baby Seat for sale online without a safety belt they should reconsider if they should buy it. Safety advocates suggest not to buy it.

Assuming someone needs to buy used baby gear, they should be extremely careful and try to avoid buying expired car seats. Car seats can expire due to technology updates and new laws requiring that a seat comports with consumer safety rules.

In some countries, such as Australia, it is illegal to resell a used child car seat.

Once consumers purchase a product, they should register it. By doing this, the company that made the product can contact all purchasers if there’s a recall, the item needs a quick repair or it’s been prohibited for use or if it needs a full overhaul.

How to Avoid Buying Recalled Products Found in Online Markets

No matter if you’re shopping on the internet, at a flea market, secondhand store or garage sale to find a good deal on a manufactured product, remember to ask the seller for the brand, model, serial number, and the date the product was manufactured. Then research the product on CPSC.gov/Recalls: https://www.cpsc.gov/

Also if planning to sell used items make sure the product hasn’t been recalled.

How to Find Out About Recalls

Look up Recalls.gov

https://recalls.gov/

Here is a list of the most dangerous items for kids: https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/slideshows/the-10-most-dangerous-products-to-kids

As mature consumers interested in purchasing products for infants (new or used) we must take precautionary steps to ensure the products we buy for little ones are safe. Don’t risk a child’s life or well being when unsure about the safety of a product.

Remember to research and learn everything about products sold online by typing the name of the product into Google. Several stories and product reviews will appear to be perused.

It’s worth it.

Newsblaze reporter Clarence Walker can be reached at: [email protected]

As an analyst and researcher for the PI industry and a business consultant, Clarence Walker is a veteran writer, crime reporter and investigative journalist. He began his writing career with New York-based True Crime Magazines in Houston Texas in 1983, publishing more than 300 feature stories. He wrote for the Houston Chronicle (This Week Neighborhood News and Op-Eds) including freelancing for Houston Forward Times.

Working as a paralegal for a reputable law firm, he wrote for National Law Journal, a publication devoted to legal issues and major court decisions. As a journalist writing for internet publishers, Walker’s work can be found at American Mafia.com, Gangster Inc., Drug War Chronicle, Drug War101 and Alternet.

Six of Walker’s crime articles were re-published into a paperback series published by Pinnacle Books. One book titled: Crimes Of The Rich And Famous, edited by Rose Mandelsburg, garnered considerable favorable ratings. Gale Publisher also re-published a story into its paperback series that he wrote about the Mob: Is the Mafia Still a Force in America?

Meanwhile this dedicated journalist wrote criminal justice issues and crime pieces for John Walsh’s America’s Most Wanted Crime Magazine, a companion to Walsh blockbuster AMW show. If not working PI cases and providing business intelligence to business owners, Walker operates a writing service for clients, then serves as a crime historian guest for the Houston-based Channel 11TV show called the “Cold Case Murder Series” hosted by reporter Jeff McShan.

At NewsBlaze, Clarence Walker expands his writing abilities to include politics, human interest and world events.

Clarence Walker can be reached at: [email protected]