December 02, 2008

Only compliant Children's Products on Etsy

An Etsy Admin has finally responded to the CPSIA.

When each seller signs up to sell on Etsy, they agree to these terms and are each responsible for their own items.

From the TOU:

"Restricted Activities: Your Content and your use of Etsy shall not:

5. Contain items that have been identified by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) as hazardous to consumers and therefore subject to a recall."

In other words as a seller on Etsy, you are ultimately responsible for anything you place for sale on Etsy. You are responsible for complying with any and all laws and regulations regarding your product. Etsy is merely a middleman. Statement 5 is especially noteworthy. Nearly any product on the market is subject to a recall if a particular hazard is discovered. The problem for children's product makers is that lead has been defined as a hazardous substance. Pthalates have not been defined as such but it is still subject to restrictions.

Reading this section of the terms of use, I can see all kinds of loopholes. They say "identified by the CPSC as hazardous." The law requires that companies report dangerous goods which should be recalled to the CPSC. There are not enough compliance officers to police the market place. That is changing though. They will be hiring about 500 compliance officers over the next few years. Anyway, I think the spirit or intent of the statement is that you can only sell products which are legal (comply with all laws and regulations).

On February 10th there will be many an Etsian selling children products illegaly or closing up shop.

I know that Etsy, as a third party provider, is trying to dodge responsibility. I think they could do a better job of educating their sellers about laws and regulations. There are many, many sellers making and selling products that didn't even comply with existing regulations - like care/content tags, drawstrings, small parts, etc. Ebay has a close relationship with CPSC (probably forced by the government). Etsy better watch out or they may be held liable in the same way as Ebay. I see the CPSC knocking on the doors of Etsy corporate.

In any event Etsy/Ebay will be losing A LOT of business come February 10, 2009.

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