Second Hand Toys: What Are my Rights?
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.