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Seller Liability for Garage Sales


When someone buys an item from a private garage sale, the seller typically isn’t liable for the condition of the product. The buyer usually has to accept the product “as is” under the doctrine of “caveat emptor,” which is Latin for “buyer beware.”

However, a strict application of the buyer beware rule in all cases would lead to unfair results that would let unscrupulous and harmful conduct run rampant in private transactions. As a result, the law evolved in order to recognize some exceptions to the doctrine of “buyer beware.”

Knowingly Selling a Dangerously Defective Product

If you are hosting a garage sale, it is important that you do not knowingly sell anything that presents a danger to the safety of others. Otherwise, you might be liable for damages to someone who sustains an injury from using that product. Private individuals should also take care not to sell recalled products. Under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, resellers must adhere to certain regulations when it comes to reselling goods—this includes garage sales.

Although it can be difficult for private individuals to know what items have been recalled throughout the years before selling them, knowledge of the recall could be imputed to the reseller if the recall was published or otherwise disseminated for public consideration. There are also items that cannot ever be resold regardless of whether they have been recalled. Examples include mattresses and car seats. For more information about how to safely host a garage sale, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s online guide for resellers.

Get Comprehensive Legal Counsel from Rourke & Blumenthal

Just because you or one of your loved ones accidentally sustained injuries from a product you obtained from a garage sale, doesn’t mean no one is legally liable for such the costs stemming from such injuries. For a better understanding of your legal right to recover damages for an injury, call Rourke & Blumenthal for experienced legal advice. Our legal team has handled various personal injury cases, including injuries caused by specific products and goods.

Call our office at (614) 321-3212 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation exploring your legal rights and interest.
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