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Some recalled toys end up on the Internet

December 12, 2007 7:40:22 PM PST
With all the news lately about recalled toys and other products, it may surprise you to learn it's not illegal to sell a banned or recalled toy on line or in a store.

Frederick Felman was able to purchase this Dora talking "Vamonos" van on eBay.

He also found on line listings for Thomas the Tank Engine and this Barbie and Tanner set.

All three toys have been part of recalls announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Felman is chief marketing officer of the San Francisco based business consulting firm, Mark Monitor.

The company's mission is to protect its client's brand name by searching for areas where the company's image might be hurt.

Mark Monitor has a business relationship with eBay. In a recent survey, the company checked billions of web pages searching for problems.

"In the survey we conducted recently, we found that recalled toys were widely available on line," said Frederick Felman from Mark Monitor.

Mark Monitor specifically searched for four recalled toys and found 349 Internet auction listings for them.

State senator Dean Florez is from Bakersfield.

"I think most people who go to the internet at the end of the day believe what they're buying off the Internet; particularly from eBay are safe toys. That isn't the case. In fact we found just two toys this morning that had been banned, yet are still running on eBay," said Senator Dean Florez from Bakersfield.

Florez will introduce legislation next month to impose fines of $2,500 dollars a day per product on any retailer or Internet site selling a recalled or banned toy. The legislation will also require filters be placed by these web sites to weed out any recalled or banned products.

"Now if retail stores can pull dangerous toys, toys that contain high levels of lead for example, off of their shelves, we believe eBay has to have that same type if you will enforcement mechanism," said Florez.

EBay says it takes the problem seriously and actively works with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to remove recalled items from its site.

Contacted by 7 On Your Side, The federal agency confirmed it works closely with eBay.

"It's everyone's responsibility to try to make sure children are safe. And we as consumers want access to inexpensive goods. But we shouldn't be taken advantage of by sellers who are doing something they know is intentionally wrong," said Felman.

Senator Florez' legislation doesn't specifically target eBay, but since the Internet auction site is the biggest, it's attracting most of the attention.

There is a federal effort underway as well. The CPSC reform act by U.S. Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas would make it illegal to sell a banned or recalled product.

The full Senate could vote on that bill before Christmas.

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