Watchdog group says recalled, counterfeit toys easy to find online

Young woman is choosing toys for her kid.
Posted at 2:01 PM, Nov 17, 2022

As many of us look for ways to save on holiday gifts, the U.S. PIRG Education Fund warns everyone to beware of counterfeit and recalled toys.

The consumer watchdog group went undercover to see how many recalled toys it could buy online. Results posted today show they were able to get 11 out of 16 toys on a recall list from the government.

"One of them is this stuffed duck, which was recalled because of phthalates, which is a toxin, and we were able to buy 13 of these,” said Teresa Murray with the U.S. PIRG Education Fund. “I could have bought dozens more.”

Recalled and counterfeit toys pose safety hazards like choking, exposure to toxic chemicals and various injuries. Around 200,000 Americans go to the emergency room yearly because of toy-related injuries.

Online marketplaces like Facebook and eBay have policies in place against selling recalled items. In a statement to us, eBay says it monitors government recall announcements and takes them very seriously.

But U.S. PIRG says it can be easy for recalled items to go unnoticed sometimes.

“Sometimes, those are individual sellers who may not know,” Murray said. “I mean, maybe they're used toys. They may not know what they're selling.”

U.S. PIRG urges anyone shopping for toys online to stay up to date on recalls. You can do that by visiting the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website.

They also say brick-and-mortar stores seem to be a safe option. They did not come across any recalled toys when shopping in person.