KSLA Investigates: yard sale dangers

Buying secondhand goods can come with a risk

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - For anyone shopping on a budget, yard sales and online markets can be a dream come true.

However, no matter how steep the discount might be, there are certain used items in a yard sale that could harm you or your family.

The old saying "one person's trash is someone else's treasure" never has rang more true as millions of people throughout the country turn to the internet to snag deals and sell unwanted items.

"I have approximately 37,000 members. On the average, about 200 to 600 join a week. So it's growing rapidly," said Trish Baird, who launched the New South Bossier Online Yard Sale group on Facebook.

"You can find furniture, there's cars, there's houses.

"I've seen a lot lately with clothing, especially school uniforms. That's a real big thing right now with everybody going back to school," she continued.

"There's baby items. There's a smorgasbord of things - telephones, TVs, anything."

Baby and toddler products tend to be popular resale items because they sometimes are used for a very short period of time.

However, buying them secondhand comes with a risk.

"The biggest thing with car seats ... . Even as a mom, I didn't know car seats expire," Baird said.

"You also don't know if the car seat has been in a crash. So it's really a safety issue."

Cribs also can pose a threat.

"They had a big recall back in 2011, and they banned all of the drop-side cribs," Baird explained.

"So as a new mother, you certainly want to put your baby in something that is safe. So make sure you check online with a manufacturer, and make sure the crib is safe."

Other used items that can be a threat to your and your family's health include mattresses, hats, shoes, toilet seats, bathing suits and undergarments.

"Rugs are another," Baird said.

"Just use your intuition. You can kind of, if you zoom in on the picture, you can usually tell if you want to purchase it or not."

Electronics are another thing to look out for.

Baird advises buyers and sellers alike to meet at a carrier.

"Have them look it up because there's no way to know if you've purchased a stolen phone.

"Also, never accept just a box when you're doing an exchange. If you decide to go outside to carrier, you could get an empty box. And that has happened."

If possible, test electronic devices before buying.

Remember, at the end of the day, no matter how good of a deal it is, you have to put your safety first, especially when it comes to meeting someone for an exchange.

"Make sure you take someone with you when you exchange. And do it in a safe, well-lit public area," Baird advised.

"Do not go to people's homes, if it all possible. I know sometimes it's unavoidable when you're going to pick up furniture.

"But if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

Check out the Consumer Product Safety Commission website by clicking here if you are about to purchase an item and are unsure whether it has been recalled.

It's simple to use. Just type in your product and a list of recalls and alerts will appear.

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