Dangerous Deals Part 3: Finding Recalled Items In The QCA - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Dangerous Deals Part 3: Finding Recalled Items In The QCA

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Selling used baby gear is a great way to get back money for the things your baby has outgrown.

"I can see their point, you know they want to make a little money and garage sales are nice," says Keene Hart, Director of Safe Kids Quad Cities.  But bargains on used items can be risky for the buyer and seller. Especially when we're dealing with recalls.

"It's illegal to resell them," said Cathie Laufenburg, Owner of Once Upon A Child in Davenport.

Knowing that, we went to resale shops across the QCA, searching for used items, specifically car seats. This is what we found: A recalled Dorel car seat just waiting for a buyer.

It was manufactured in 2008 and we found it at Life's Little Treasures in davenport.

"Okay, $34.98," says the cashier as we check out.

Very affordable, but at a dangerous cost. This car seat has been on the recall list since January, 2010. It took me less than a minute, on a cell phone, to find out it shouldn't have been for sale.

 The screws, which connect the handle to the shell, can back out and if the user doesn't notice that it can lead to a full or partial handle detachment. If that happens an infant can fall out of the car seat and be injured. The straps are also visibly worn and the cover is loose.

"It's scary you know and they're out there selling that stuff," said Hart.

The owner of Life's Little Treasures declined an on camera interview.

She tells us she had no clue the seat was recalled and this is the first time this has happened. She explained the store checks for expiration dates but not for recalls.  After finding out we worked for TV6, she offered a full refund and no other comments.

Keene Hart knows this scene all too well. He does the same kind of hunting and tells us stores frequently exaggerate the background checking they do on each item.

"There are actually some, they tell me, they are actually looking at the recall list," Keene explains. But he pushes harder.

"I grabbed the tether strap, the top strap, and said what's this for? I know, because I teach the classes on child protective safety, so I said what's this for? Just to see if he could help. He replied, "Oh you don't need that."

"And then I asked him well how old is this seat? He says I don't know, but look at what great condition it's in."

The sale may be well-intentioned but no saved dollar is worth a child being hurt. When you are buying items at second-hand stores and thrift stores, the history of the item is long gone. Those people have sold their seat and moved on.

We then set out to other stores in the area. We found Salvation Army will not accept used car seats. If they do carry them, they are new and directly from the manufacturers.'  At Once Upon a Child in Davenport, they won't accept or sell car seats under any condition.

"We don't take them at all. It comes up several times a week that we either turn away a car seat or people are looking here for a car seat," says Cathie Laufenburg, owner of Once Upon A Child.

She tells us it's too much of a liability.

"We don't take any because if they have been in an accident then it's illegal to resell them. We don't have any way of knowing."

Selling any children's item that has been in an accident or recalled is illegal. Large companies are more likely to be targeted by the government and Consumer Product Safety Commission, but that doesn't mean individual sellers at thrift stores or garage sales are off the hook.

"If you willing know that this item that you have is not safe, or is on recall and you still try to sell it, yea, they can be prosecuted," Keene Hart Tells TV6.

Consumers do have the right to sue, if they buy a recalled car seat and your child is injured. But why take the risk?

Whether car seats are $50 or $50, all brand new car seats have to meet the federal motor vehicle safety standards. Just buy one that fits your budget.

"I recommend buying one you can afford, one that fits your child correctly and one that you're going to use correctly every time," says Hart.

When it comes to looking for children's items online, it can also be tricky.

The consumer product safety commission works closely with Ebay. The consumer-to-consumer website checks for recalls and expirations and removes any listings that don't meet the guidelines.

But Craigslist is not as cooperative with the CPSC. They do not do the same sort of checks for recalls and expirations. Virtually anyone can go on and post an item for sale.

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