Consumer Reports is warning the public about recalled products, which may not be in stores anymore, but are still being sold with ringing endorsements on Craigslist and the Facebook Marketplace. For example, Consumer Reports, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), have all advised against the use of infant inclined sleep products after reports of nearly 75 child deaths due to suffocation.
Platforms Flooded with Recalled Products
By law, retailers are required to pull these types of recalled items for sale. But, when it comes to the secondhand market, it’s a different story. Consumer Reports did a search of online platforms such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for unsafe reclined sleepers and found hundreds of these products still available.
In addition to inclined sleepers, Consumer Reports also found at least a dozen recalled Ikea dressers listed on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. The dressers have been linked to hundreds of tip-over incidents, including ones associated with the deaths of several children. Millions of these dressers were recalled first in 2016.
No Effective Action
While it’s true that technically, these platforms discourage the sale of used products, the warnings are buried deep in their policy pages and simply don’t seem to be doing an effective job of preventing people from selling recalled items. Resale platforms clearly need to do more to put safety first including tracking recalls and actively blocking the sale of recalled goods.
There is no question that these websites and platforms have a duty to consumers to keep their marketplace free of dangerous and defective products. Kids in Danger, a consumer safety group has called on Facebook to allow buyers to report sellers who post recalled products for sale online. But, to date, Facebook has done nothing to create a way for users to flag recalled items being sold on Marketplace.
What Can Consumers Do?
There are several steps we can take as consumers to protect ourselves and our families from dangerous and defective used products, whether they are being sold at a garage sale, flea market or online platform:
- Ask the seller for the brand, model, serial number and date the product was manufactured. Then, look up the product on cpsc.gov/recalls.
- Ask thrift shops if they screen for recalled products. Be extra careful when you purchase children’s products.
- You could be part of the solution by letting sellers know when they post a recalled product for sale. This way, the item will not get purchased and used by someone else.
- If you are the seller, check first to ensure the product has not been recalled. Never put a recalled product up for sale or even give it away for free.
- When you buy an item, register for the product. When you do so, the company will have to notify you if the product is recalled.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a dangerous or defective product, contact an experienced product defect lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.