In the best scenario, you’ll never make it out of the store with a recalled toy—if you manage to find one still on the shelves, retailers (at least the big ones) will likely catch it at check out because the UPC code will have been flagged. But for those times when you do end up with something that has to go back to the Island of (Really) Misfit Toys, here are some things to consider to reduce problems on your end.
Know your rights. SmartMoney says, “Each recall resolution is negotiated independently between the manufacturer and the CPSC. Reputable manufacturers cover all the costs, including shipping — and will take back a toy even years after a recall is first announced… Check the CPSC’s database to find individual recall agreements.”
Work with the store instead of the manufacturer. One expert tells SmartMoney, “I would take a recalled toy back to the retailer and get a refund. Let them deal with the manufacturer.” This means you should probably find out what the store’s policy is before making the purchase. “Toys ‘R’ Us, for example, has a policy of offering store credit for the full value of any recalled toy, even if it was purchased elsewhere.”
Avoid replacements. “If a manufacturer opts to replace recalled products rather than offer a refund, take a pass.” There have been instances where replacement toys or products have the same design or materials flaws as the recalled version, or some new problem. In this case, you should try to get a refund from the store and let them deal with the manufacturer.