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Those who resell must be aware of unsafe products


Many people here in Minnesota are aware that there are protections afforded to members of the public when they use and are injured by unsafe products. In such cases, there are multiple legal avenues that can be pursued to address the damage caused, including a personal injury lawsuit and filing a complaint with the Consumer Protection Safety Commission, which is a federal agency that helps protect the public from injuries and even death that can be associated with many dangerous and defective products.

Yet, it is important to know that in some cases, the duties owed to the public can extend beyond the parties who design or manufacture what ends up being an unsafe product. The duty can extend to those who sell the product, such as major chain stores or online retailers if they have reason to believe a product may be unsafe. In fact, it can even extend in some situations to those who resell a used, but dangerous, product.

To help educate people about the responsibilities of those who resell products -- whether individuals, thrifts shops or others -- the CSPC has published a guide for reselling products. The guide details important rules for reselling products such as cribs, mattresses, hair dryers and certain children's toys. Each section explains the known hazards associated with the categorized item and outlines a reseller's responsibility when deciding whether it's appropriate to put the item up for sale. Recalled items, for instance, should never be resold.

Perhaps the biggest take home point of the guide is that it is a reseller's responsibility to avoid reselling a known dangerous product -- and ignorance of the dangers is not an excuse. While violating the rules can open up the reseller to legal action from the CPSC, if the resold item causes injury, it may also create a situation where those affected can seek compensation from the reseller through a products liability lawsuit.

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