Garage Sale Gamble - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Garage Sale Gamble

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ESSEX, Vt. -

Books, dolls, doors, even...

"A dessert set. Isn't that pretty," said a shopper. 

You can find some pretty interesting heirlooms at yard sales.

"For $10 it's a good deal," said John Arnst, shopper. 

For Phil Maglione, getting rid of this stuff was his way of downsizing. Maglione works in the WCAX sales department. So we know he's good at selling things.

"There's some kind of an attachment to it, but you got to be super clinical. Alright what am I going to use this for? And if you can't answer that within 30 seconds, goes to the yard sale," said Maglione. 

If you are the one collecting the cash watch out, there could be a lawsuit lurking in your treasures...

"it's really something the federal government takes seriously," said Lauren Lyons Cole, Consumer Reports Money editor. "Selling a recalled product at a yard sale is illegal and that means you could be sued for damages if you sell a product that's been recalled and a child or another person is injured or worse."

It's something we found most sellers don't know.

"It's just junk. And my attitude has always been buyer beware," said Maglione. 

Whether you're buying or selling, you're going to want to avoid items like car seats and bicycle helmets, even baby cribs. They're considered high risk and more likely to be on a recall list.

"This is really about safety," said Cole.

And the liability is not limited to yard sales. Experts tell us the same rules apply when you're selling items on Craigslist, Let go, eBay or even free stuff.

You can still get sued if the recalled item you gave away hurts someone.

Reporter Jennifer Costa: Would that have ever even crossed your mind? 

Maglione: Nope. 

The easiest way to figure out what's been recalled is to go to the Consumer Product Safety Commission's website. We found nearly 900 pages of faulty items dating back to 1973. Everything from dangerous dressers, scooters and saws to snowshoes, sweatshirts and even John Deere tractor hats for babies.

"You do want to do your due diligence," said Cole. 

A quick internet search could save you a lot of legal trouble.

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