Government campaign could do more harm than good

By Philippe Djegal - email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - It stretches to everything from thrift shops to garage sales. A new government campaign is out to crack down on people re-selling recalled items. It stems from a new law passed last year to stop the sale of products deemed dangerous. However, some East Texans say they are a little worried about the government's decision to get involved.

"I think the government is trying to overstep its bounds," said Dianna Brown.

"We're not out here selling illegal drugs or illegal weapons," said Michelle Hults. "We're simply selling used items."

Dianna Brown and other members of the Tyler Police Department are having a yard sale, raising money for a fellow officer's son who was stricken with cancer. However, if anything being sold has ever been under manufacture recall, the seller could go to jail.

"We're one neighbor selling to another neighbor," said Brown. "It doesn't involve the government."

But, now "it" does.

In 1999, the Consumer Product Safety Commission conducted a study finding that nearly 70% of all resale stores in America sold at least one recalled item or otherwise hazardous product. It was a statistic leading representatives from local thrift shops to jump on board the government crackdown.

"I don't know where the line has to be drawn, if there is a line to keep our children safe," said Gail Gray, with Goodwill of Tyler.

Gray says donations are down 15 to 20% at Goodwill stores nationwide. However, she says selling recalled or dangerous items just for the sake of making money isn't worth it.

"We try to do our very best to see that no recall products get out on our sales floor," said Gray.

"Anything that we can do to keep children safe, I think is a great thing," said Beverly Hamilton.

Though some recalled items blacklisted by the government were produced as far back as the '80s, the Salvation Army says they, too, are trying their best to protect the public.

"If it hurts sales, God's going to make it up in another way," said Hamilton.

To find more information on the "re-sale round-up campaign" and some of the items blacklisted, click here.

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