Everyone loves a bargain, and this time of year, there are plenty of them advertised. Black Friday seems to have started around Halloween. If your kids’ wish list for Santa is long and you’ve also got to buy toys for nieces, nephews, friends’ kids and school gift exchanges, you’re likely looking for the best prices you can find.
Unfortunately, that can make it all too easy to end up buying toys and other items for kids that are cheap knock-offs. If stores and online retailers are out of the doll or toy your child has been talking about for months, it can be tempting to buy something that looks exactly the same that’s available from another manufacturer.
The problem is that these items often aren’t subject to the same regulations and testing as those made by well-known manufacturers. Even if they look exactly the same, a knock-off item can potentially be dangerous.
How to spot a less-than-reputable manufacturer
You’re probably less likely to find these counterfeits in reputable stores. However, they are easily obtainable from online marketplaces like Amazon. Before you add an item to your cart, if it’s not a name brand, do a bit of due diligence.
Look at the manufacturer’s website. If they don’t have one, that’s your first warning sign. If they have a website, how legitimate and professional does it look? Are they located in the U.S.? Look at the overall customer rating for a product and read some reviews. This is wise for any product you buy, no matter how well-known the manufacturer is.
Not all knock-off children’s items are dangerous, and some items made by brand-name manufacturers who’ve been around since our grandparents’ time are. However, you lower your chances of buying a dangerous product by steering clear of inexpensive alternatives – particularly if they contain parts or mechanisms that can be hazardous.
If your child suffers harm from a defective product, it can be difficult to hold a fly-by-night operation in another country liable. However, you may be able to seek some accountability from the company that made the product available. It’s wise to find out what legal options you have.