What To Do With A Recalled Toy

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.

Stay informed. Subscribe to the CPSC’s email recall lists or rss feeds, or at the very least bookmark the site and check in before you go shopping.

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.

“Handling This Year’s Toy Recall Epidemic” [SmartMoney]
(Image: mwctoys.com


Edit Your Comment

  1. PatrickIs2Smart says:

    … will it blend?

  2. Lin-Z [linguist on duty] says:

    send it to the isle of misfit toys!

  3. Beerad says:

    Eat it and go to a rave? I mean, maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones.

  4. MYarms says:


    How true. I haven’t heard any news about adults getting sick from eating them.

  5. scampy says:

    Just give them to Toys for Teens

  6. smitty1123 says:

    @Beerad: You joke, but I bet a bunch of people went out and did just that (or at least tried to).

  7. memphis9 says:

    eBay it!

    Aqua Dot are hot on eBay, but you can forget about getting the “dots” part. No eBay seller really wants to be that easy to sue.

    Other hot catagories include recalled cereal box toys, recalled happy-meal-type toys, and a Teletubbie who was recalled for having a potty mouth.

    I hear that a lot of retail clerks and dumpster divers have made something of a cottage industry out of recalled toys. Not advocating, just sayin’.

  8. Caroofikus says:

    I remember when I worked at Target we had an override function on our registers so we could accept any recalled product we carried, whether it had a receipt or not. Just a thought for those who care.