Oh you silly US Government, you have gone and done it again.
Have you heard about this? The Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act? It is a new law enacted by Congress and while it is not crystal clear (typical), what it basically means is that you will not be able to buy or sell used baby clothes.
Not at Goodwill.
Not on Craig's List or eBay.
Not at Consignment shops.
As of Feb. 10th, 2009 this will be an illegal act. (Although I don't know how the heck they are going to prosecute this.)
The following information is taken from babycheapskate.com.
I want to be clearer and more specific about the effect the CPSIA (Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act) will have on reselling when it goes into effect on February 10. As clear as I can be, that is, since it seems there's an awful lot of confusion.
You will no longer be able to place used children's clothes or toys into the "stream of commerce" unless you can prove that they've been tested for lead and pthalates. Items manufactured after Feb. 10 will boast a permanent tracking label which will do just that. As I and others understand it, that means no selling items without such proof on ebay, Craigslist, yard sales, and church/organization consignment sales (See if your favorite sales are still scheduled). Of course, that means no buying kids' clothes and toys without the label from these sources either. This act could easily triple the amount that many families pay to clothe their kid until there are enough second-hand items manufactured after Feb. 10 to replenish the second-hand market (and even then it's likely that prices at thrift stores, etc. will be higher due to the added cost of testing them). It will absolutely eliminate the notion of recouping any of the cost of older items through reselling.
What about donations? My research tells me that you won't be able to donate your used kids' clothing and toys to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or any place that would resells. They'd have to have proof that you had it tested for lead and pthalates. What that means for charities like Project Linus, which gives blankets to hospitalized newborns, or to charities that distribute clothing and toys without selling them, is unknown.
So can you give away your stuff on Freepeats, Freecycle, and Craigslist? What about swap meets? I've found one commenter that says no. Beyond that, there's little mention of it.
(babycheapskate.com is a great source if you want more information)
Is anyone else just a little peeved that the rich lawmakers in Washington get to make decisions like this for middle and lower class Americans? I just can't imagine that any of them have any experience with this type of commerce. Do you think Kay Bailey Hutchison (our senator from Texas) has ever purchased used clothes for her children in her life? I tend to doubt it. And that is fine for them but they should also consider the effects of passing laws like this on those of us who do.
Look, I am sure that this law started off as something very positive but it has turned into something that doesn't make sense for most Americans. And with layoffs becoming more and more common the practice of buying clothes at Consignment shops is becoming more and more necessary for families across the country.
If you are ticked, this is what you can do about it:
How to Get Involved -- it only takes 5 minutes of your time! (information thanks to Cool Mom Picks)
-Find your congress person and senators and write a letter like the sample here.
Particularly if they serve on the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection or the House Committee on Small Business.
-Send an email directly to the CPSC or contact chairperson Nancy Nord at 301-504-7923
-Vote for amending the law on Change.org, With enough votes it will be presented to President Obama in January! (voting starts again on January 5th.)
-Click on this link to put a Save Second Hand button on your blog.