Dangerous Deals Part 2 - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Dangerous Deals Part 2

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We all know the cost of being a parent doesn't come cheap. When buying a bargain, it's all about trusting the seller.

But people who slap $.25 price tags on their used possessions at garage sales or other resale events could also be slapped with a multi-million dollar lawsuit.   

"If you willingly know that this item that you have is not safe, or is on recall and you still try to sell it. Yes, they can be prosecuted," said Keene Hart.

Items causing concern are usually made to protect your children. Buying a second-hand car seat, crib, or stroller for a bargain can turn into a dangerous deal.

"I tell people don't even, it's not worth it," says Hart. That's because buying an old or recalled children's product can cause more harm than good.

"Any car seat, crib or toy that is recalled because of some safety hazard because it's not safe for that child. Take the matter very seriously because that could be the difference between your child getting killed because they used that item or getting severe injury," Hart tells KWQC.

And for those selling the defunct items, it's also illegal.

So, how much do you trust your neighbors? They could be getting rid of an old car seat or crib they don't want or need anymore. Is that something you'd buy for your kids?

"The issue with the car seat is sometimes people don't know how old it is or if it's ever been in a car accident. It's not something that you'd want to typically sell used," said Amy Gluesing of DeWitt, IA. Despite her thoughts on that, she's selling a GRACO infant car seat, manufactured in 2007.

She tells us she's done her homework.

"I have it out here simply because I know it's only been used for one child for 6 months, it still meets all the guidelines that it needs to meet and it hasn't been recalled," says Gluesing.

Based on the information Amy gave us and our own investigation, we found out that Amy's car seat does, in fact, meet safety guidelines. There are not any recalls for the seat, it's in good condition and doesn't appear to have been in a crash. However, in 2007 GRACO, the same manufacturer recalled over 300 thousand similar products due to deterioration and the potential for a choking hazard. Amy's model was not on the list

"I feel comfortable selling it to someone else, and because it's a small town and people may know me they may feel comfortable buying it from me because they know the history of it," says Amy.

However, car seats have a 6-8 year expiration. Gluesing's car seat for sale will be 6 years old in November. Some local experts say that's too close.

"If it's over 6 years, oh boy don't even touch it," says Keene Hart. Across the neighborhood, Lois Block is selling some of her daughter-in-law's items: a duo-glide stroller for twins, a crib, changing table, and countless other clothes and toys. Lois tells us her daughter is also up to date on the items.

"Just like that crib-set there, she's got the attachments that go with it that's supposed to be for the locking and unlocking and she's up to date, she wants her boys safe so everything is up to par," Lois Block tells KWQC.

But how do you know if what you're purchasing second hand is quality?

Keene hart says when it's used... you don't. "Buying it in thrift stores, you don't know that. Garage sales - there is no way of telling that its safe," says Keene Hart.

The responsibility of selling these items, whether they are recalled or not, could fall on the seller.

"I wouldn't want to sell it to anybody if I didn't feel safe about it," says Lois Block.

Aside from the guilt, sellers can be penalized and even fined if they sell a faulty item. Strict standards were set in 2008, making it illegal to sell any children's items that have been recalled.

"They can be prosecuted for knowing that the item is not safe and trying to sell it," says Hart.

Violators caught selling anything among the lists of recalls could face up to $100,000 per infraction or $15 Million for a related series of infractions.

The consumer product safety commission says these hefty fines are intended for large companies.

However, individuals selling dangerous items at a garage sale can also be targeted. "Just don't take that chance," says Hart.

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