Buyer Beware? Product Attorney’s Buying Guide for the Gift Giving Season
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” –Andy Williams & Retailers Everywhere.
The holiday season is upon us and retailers everywhere are rejoicing as shoppers flood their stores in search of gifts of all shapes and sizes. Parents check items off their children’s lists to Santa, while some search for the perfect gift for the fifth night of Hanukah. Men and women scour the stores for the special something to give their special someone and co-workers all over the world think long and hard about the perfect white elephant gift. The holidays can be a joyous occasion filled with giving and generosity for those fortunate enough to partake.
Yet, not all gifts are destined to fill the recipient with joy. Unfortunately for some, a defective or dangerous product can dramatically change the holiday mood. Despite significant regulation and numerous quality control standards, defective consumer products still make it to market and stock retail shelves every holiday season. Ranging from children’s toys with choking hazards to off-road vehicles with fire and rollover risks, the threats posed by various consumer products are vast. Keep those dangers in mind as you shop for the perfect gift this holiday season and check out the checklist below for a product attorney’s guide to gift giving.
- Do your homework.
- As you plan out your holiday shopping and what gifts to get for whom, take a little time and research the products you think you want to buy. I recommend starting with the Consumer Product Safety Commission webpage, https://www.cpsc.gov/. The CPSC keeps up to date records of consumer products recalled for safety hazards. Before you buy something for a loved one, make sure that product has not been recalled for a defect that could render the product dangerous for use. Some recently recalled products include:
- HoMedics Giraffe Shaped Nightlights (Choking Hazard)
- IKEA Dining Tables (Laceration Hazard)
- Honda Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (Fire and Burn Hazards)
- Double Check Age Restrictions
- Additionally, while doing your research, if you are buying a toy for a young child, double check the age restrictions printed on the product packaging. The restrictions are there for a reason and failure to abide by them can lead to unnecessary, avoidable injuries.
- Read the Product Warnings/instructions
- Once you’ve confirmed that the gift is safe and age appropriate, make sure that you or the recipient read and observe the product warnings and instructions. While some products can be defective even if used properly, misusing a product only increases the risk the product will cause harm.
These three steps may seem obvious and simple; but, once completed, you can feel confident that the gifts you give are safe.
The product liability team at McCartney Stucky wishes you and yours a safe and happy holiday season!