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Second Hand Toys: What Are my Rights?

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 25 Jan 2024 | comments*Discuss
Used Toys Second Hand Toys Toy Safety

You do have rights as a consumer, whether you buy second hand toys or brand new ones, but you need be very careful about where you buy used toys from, as the law applies differently to private sales than to second hand toys bought from a shop.

What Are My Rights if I Buy Children's Toys From Car Boot Sales?

Buying used toys from a car boot sale (or jumble sale, classified advert or similar) limits your rights as a consumer. Although you still have a contract with the person you buy the second hand toys from, you don’t have the protection of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 because most of the provisions of the Act only cover sales that happen in the course of a business. Some areas that you should definitely be very careful, of are:

  • Safety laws - There is a raft of toy safety legislation in place to protect children from unsafe toys. If you do buy used toys, they could be too old to comply with the law – and if they don't, you could be putting your child at risk from things like high levels of lead in paint, hair or stuffing that leads to a choking hazard, sharp edges or spikes.
  • Electrical Toys – definitely avoid buying any electronic second hand toys – especially at a car boot sale. The reason for this is that a lot of electrical goods will be old and worn out, and at worst you could find that they don’t even conform to current toy safety standards. Buying electrical second hand toys from someone you don’t know at a car boot or jumble sale could be extremely dangerous for your child. If you spot an absolute bargain and can’t resist the urge to buy it, get it checked over by an expert before you give it to your child. And remember that you probably won’t see your money again if the toy turns out to be unsafe or faulty.
  • Counterfeit Toys and Games - There is a thriving market in fake toys, video games and DVDs, so be aware that the bargain you pick up at a Sunday market might not be legitimate. Fake goods are likely to be of inferior quality and might even be dangerous. They could have fake toy safety CE marks and quality marks, and it’s just not worth the risk. If a stall at a car boot or market has a large quantity of branded toys for sale at surprisingly low prices, be realistic and accept that they are probably fake – if something seems too good to be true, it usually is!

What Am I Entitled To if Used Toys Are Faulty?

To be honest – you’re not likely to be entitled to a great deal if you buy used toys from a private seller. On the other hand, if you buy a rare vintage doll from an antique shop, your rights are exactly the same as they would be if you bought the toy brand new. So it really is a case of ‘buyer beware’ if you’re going to buy anything from a private seller.

Private sellers are only liable to pay you any kind of compensation under the Sale of Goods Act if the toy that you buy isn’t as it’s described. So if you see an authentic Sindy Doll advertised on eBay as being an original from the 1970s and you later find that it’s part new and part antique, you could give the doll back and demand a refund because you’ve been misled.

You aren’t entitled to any compensation at all if you buy used toys from a private seller and they break, or you realise that your second hand toys have a fault. The only exception to the rule would be if there was a written description somewhere of the toy that described it as being “In perfect condition” or “as new”.

In general, for peace of mind, it's always best to buy used toys from a reputable trader and not private seller. Make sure that it conforms to safety laws, and has all the relevant CE Marks, before you give it to your children. If in doubt, don't buy it.

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Recently sold (reluctantly) a transformer listed on a Facebook transformers selling page for £35, listed price was £40, agreed a discount due yo a broken clip, which didn't affect use. This toy had been in my possession for at least 3 years. The buyer has messaged me saying he's found further faults after 3 days of my toy being in his possession. Loose joints and further damage I was unaware of. I sent various photos and a video of said toy prior to sale. Once sale agreed then asked me to hold the item for a period of time as was going through his own bereavement (as was I, the sole reason I was parting with my collection), on the day the hold time expired he'd asked for a discount, which I agreed, I packed the item heavily with bubble wrap and sent in a shoe box. He messaged to say the item was received. 3 days later I get a message informing of further faults (that I never saw in my 3 year ownership) and request I reimburse £10 to him? Sotoy listed at £40 originally, reduced down to £35, to then give some money back? This is highly irregular in my experience. Should I do as he says, or tell him this is nonsense? Please advise. Thank you.
Kelvo - 25-Jan-24 @ 3:49 AM
Please advise...I plan to set up a hoopla stall at summer fete can I give second hand soft plushtoys as prizes? I will be charging for the game.
Kersh - 11-May-23 @ 6:00 PM
we are organising a summer fete we have been given some soft toys teddy's etc. do they need to have Any safety tags on them. Thanks
none - 22-Jul-22 @ 10:53 AM
I am looking for clarification to see if used toys without the CE mark can be sold at a boot fair.
nuttynanny - 28-Apr-21 @ 7:50 PM
Neighbour child and 2 others play with a child plastic chute and a large rocking boat made of some sort of resin ???the latter been in the grass for 2 years blown about in gales and snow and rain however !!!! Despite 2 continually throwing them abouta piece at the end cracked when 3rd person play now the father is demanding I buy a new one HELP !!!! I have no intention of doing this now he is constantly leaving it at my door and again approached me for a new one - bearing in mind he was given it by a neighbour as his child had outgrown it - never once did they take it indoors or retrieve it from other people garden during storms
Mugiamnot - 24-Mar-21 @ 7:01 PM
Does a toy for a baby have to say on it what age/months they are for?
Luc50 - 13-Mar-19 @ 12:55 PM
I am an activity co -coordinator, at a nursing home in the uk. A vey large second hand bear about 5 feet high has been donated to be raffled. Produced for Proctor and Gambol it bears the name Charmin which I assume was for advertising purposes. The seam at the ear has split open revealing the stuffing, zI have been asked to repair it prior to the raffle. Having been made very aware of to regulations by my previous employer I am concerned about raffling this large old toy which is now damaged due to children playing with it shortly before it was donated, leaving myself a sewing instructor in the position of having to repair this older toy.
min - 27-Oct-16 @ 2:14 PM
Thingummybob - Your Question:
I was wondering what the law was regarding up-cycling old toys. Specifically re-upholstering old rocking horses. I cover them - over their existing stuffing and remake or repair any damaged bridles and replace their manes and tails. I also rub down and varnish or paint their rockers. All the advice I can find is about homemade (from scratch) toys or second hand toys. Thank you.

Our Response:
if you're selling them on, you'd be advised to check the standards for this type of toy/play item. Check the standards at your local library. Look for British Standard (BS) 5665 and European Standard EN71.
ToysAdvice - 7-Jun-16 @ 12:42 PM
I was wondering what the law was regarding up-cycling old toys. Specifically re-upholstering old rocking horses. I cover them - over their existing stuffing and remakeor repair any damaged bridles and replace their manes and tails. I also rub down and varnish or paint their rockers.All the advice I can find is about homemade (from scratch) toys or second hand toys. Thank you.
Thingummybob - 5-Jun-16 @ 6:07 PM
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