Selling and buying products online is becoming more common every year. Unfortunately, however, this convenient mode of shopping has created a new kind of market where previously recalled children’s products can reach consumers, thereby presenting a risk of injury to children.
Last year, many high profile toy manufacturers recalled millions of toys due the hazards they pose, however, some of these toys are still available via internet. Mega Brand, for example, recalled about 4 million of its Magnetix toys due to small magnets falling out and children swallowing them. The toys were responsible for 34 incidents, 4 injuries, and 1 death; yet, some of these recalled Magnetix toys are still being sold on EBay. Today you can find the Rose Art Magnetic X-treme Combo Set and Micro Set on EBay, which Mega Brand recalled over a year ago!
So how do such high profile recalls make it to the internet? Well, quiet easily. Many products are not marked as recalled or defective and unless a consumer knows about a recall, they have little way of knowing that the product they are selling or purchasing for their child is dangerous. Further, popular online auctions sites, like EBay, claim that they are not equipped to regulate the millions of new and used items for sale. While EBay does provide a tip sheet and links to a recall database, it does not have its own inventory for consumers. Moreover, the auction site has little legal liability for products sold on its site.
The presence of recalled children’s products on online auction sites is unacceptable and warrants a need for change. To reduce the resale of recalled children’s products parents need to check their desired purchase against recall lists, manufacturers need to obtain recalled products from homes so that they are not resold, and online auction sites need to investigate and post recalls while also requiring sellers to sell only non-recalled items. Combined, these efforts can reduce the recirculation of recalled products and work to keep children safe.