Avoiding recalled items while shopping online

US & World

NEW YORK, N.Y. (CBS) – When products are recalled for safety concerns, the idea is to get them off the market to protect consumers, but that’s not always what happens.

If you search the internet for a product such as a used baby sleeper, hundreds of Rock ‘n Play models are for sale on secondhand markets. What buyers may not realize is that Fisher-Price recalled that model in April after it was tied to dozens of infant deaths.

Consumer Reports writer Rachel Peachman searched online for recalled products that have caused harm to children and found a number of items that were supposed to be off the market.

“These are really dangerous products and using them can be extremely risky,” Peachman says. “I also found recalled IKEA dressers, and those have been associated with hundreds of tip-over incidents and several deaths of children.”

Consumer Reports says Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist have the most postings of recalled items. eBay has automated filters to prevent listing dangerous products.

When products are recalled, retailers are required by law to pull them from store shelves. The law also applies to secondhand marketplaces, but regulating the numerous online platforms has been a challenge.

In many cases, neither the seller nor the buyer is aware the product has been recalled. Which is why Consumer Reports advises shoppers to do their homework.

“If you’re not sure you can ask the seller when the product was manufactured, what’s the serial number so you can make sure the product you’re getting has not been affected by a safety alert or a recall.”

Recalls.gov is a website that allows consumers to check for product recalls. A few extra clicks could protect you from a purchase you may regret.

The resale platforms do have warnings to discourage the sale of recalled products. But consumer reports says they are not effective in stopping the posts.

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