If you’re dealing with finding everything on your kids’ wish lists this holiday season, as well as finding gifts for other young family members, gift exchanges and more, you’re understandably searching for bargains. When you see toys, dolls and other items that look just the same as name brands, why not get them? They’ll probably end up broken, lost or tossed aside within a few months anyway.
While it may seem like you’re simply paying extra for the brand name (and that’s true in part), these established companies are required to follow regulations for manufacturing, testing and labeling that companies located in other countries and producing “knock-offs” often don’t.
The warning signs of a poorly made product
Whether in a store or shopping online, it’s wise to look carefully at the product and the manufacturer. If you’re not familiar with them, do a little online research before you buy. What should you look for?
- Find the manufacturer’s website. If you can’t (or it seems highly unprofessional), that’s your first red flag.
- Is the company located in the U.S.? Of course, many U.S. toy companies’ products are made abroad. However, they’re subject to U.S. regulations. Therefore, where a company is located is important.
- If the product is available online, look at the customer reviews and ratings. This is wise for anything you buy.
Don’t assume that because a product is sold on a well-known platform like Amazon that they’ll stand by the product. As we discussed earlier this year, Amazon has largely evaded any significant liability by asserting that it’s not a retailer.
Even toys and other children’s products sold by established companies can prove to be dangerous. However, you decrease the chances of issues by avoiding counterfeit and knock-off items and reading the labels carefully for recommended ages and potential hazards, such as small parts or batteries.
It’s also easier to hold a reputable U.S. company liable for damages than one that may be impossible to track down or no longer around. If your child has suffered harm from a defective product, it’s crucial to find out about your legal options for seeking justice and compensation.