How To Check Whether That Used Furniture You Want Has Been Recalled

If you're scouring classified ads and garage sale notices for used furniture that you can get cheap, don't be too hasty. It's not unusual to find that someone's trying to sell an item that's been subject to a consumer safety recall. Selling items that have been recalled is illegal, but that doesn't stop it from happening—many times, people just want to get rid of the item. But that doesn't make it any safer for you. Here are some ways to protect yourself as you look for your desired piece of furniture.

Type of Furniture

First, if the item of furniture you're trying to buy is a crib, ask about the year the crib was made. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, which made it illegal to sell recalled products, also made it illegal to re-sell cribs that were made before June 2011. Because it's always possible the seller could fib about the year the crib was made, if you can, either spring for a new crib, or go to a reputable used furniture store that can show that the cribs for sale are newer even if used.

While Searching

Before you go to look at furniture in person, check and These sites list known recalls, and you can check for the type of furniture you want to buy. If the ad you saw was vague about the description of the furniture, try to get more detail from the seller. If they refuse to give you detail about what the furniture looks like, move on and look for another seller, or go to a used furniture store, such as Wertz Brothers Furniture Inc.

In-Person Checks

If you happen upon the furniture you want when you pass by a garage sale, use a smartphone app to check recall lists. If you find the item, let the seller know—it's possible he or she just didn't realize it had been subject to a recall.

Instincts and Inspections

Even if you can't find the item on a recall list, do your due diligence. Look over the item carefully, testing moving parts if any and checking to see that all connections are secure. Look for chips, scratches, and other damage and try to determine if the damage is merely cosmetic, or an indication of a structural problem. Check for odors and unexplained stains.

If you'd like to know more about buying used furniture safely, check out the government sites dedicated to recalls, and go to used furniture stores to see what used furniture should really be like. You'll be able to see how sturdy the furniture is and how well-kept it is compared to what you might find through a private sale.