Caveat Emptor. But really.
Bargains hunters love thrift stores and storage auctions. But the CSA Group, a non-profit certification and testing organization, wants buyers to beware before they pounce on that special item. Some, because of age or uncertain history, might be hazardous. To help consumers separate the trash from the treasure, they’re offering the following tips:
Avoid electrical or gas products that don’t have a label from a recognized certification organization such as CSA Group. Check that the certification mark matches with the design and colour of certification marks from the same organization on similar products.
Check wiring and extension cords for wear and damage. In particular, look for worn insulation and splices on the cord and loose or exposed parts on the plug. To avoid shock and fire hazards, have a qualified electrician make any repairs.
Be wary of outdated power tools and building supplies that may not meet current standards or codes. Don’t operate any power tools or equipment without having them inspected.
Avoid used bicycle, hockey or construction helmets. Damage may be hidden, and a helmet that has been in a serious crash may have lost its full protective capabilities.
Check with local regulators to ensure products are safe for use. Some products may have been recalled or even banned for resale in some jurisdictions.
Counterfeit packaging is often poorly designed or has only partial illustrations. Misspellings and unclear printing on products and labels are a tell-tale sign. Check for discrepancies between the contents of the product package and its description, as well as missing product information or enclosures.
Products that don’t include a brand identifier or trademark may be a counterfeit. Look, too, for missing return addresses or company contact information.
Check the look and feel of goods - fake products often seem light and too flimsy.
Confirm CSA Group certification of a product by comparing the product's identification against the certification record.
Educate yourself about consumer tips and safety advice.