Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Toxic toys? Not in my neighborhood!

We talked a few weeks ago about the benefits of toy recalls. One of the more newsworthy recalls was the Thomas the Tank Engine lead paint fiasco. In that notorious screw-up, some wooden Thomas the Tank Engine toy trains were found to contain lead based paint. Primarily it involved Thomas wood train pieces made in China that were painted red. The recall program has been in place for a couple years and has been a buying opportunity for folks like you and me. Many of these toys can be had at garage sales for a dollar or less per train.

Best of all, you're not just buying toxic trains to make some quick bucks. Heck no, you're like a comic book super hero coming to the rescue of little kids! When you buy these dangerous lead based toys, you're helping to get this toxic junk out of the hands of innocent children. Did you ever think you could do a "good deed" at a garage sale while making money at the same time? You absolutely can...so go out and do lots and lots of good deeds!

Take a look at the brand spanking new trains seen above. These little gems were sent to me from the toy company RC2, the producer of wood Thomas trains. They were all replacements for lead based trains I bought at a recent yard sale. I only paid fifty cents for each train. While not all the Thomas trains have paint problems, it was easy to find out which ones fell under the recall. The company provided a consumer service hotline number and website. The website had photos of all the toxic trains. I clicked on each toy to create an inventory list of trains eligible for return. A few weeks later, I received a confirmation letter and a pre-printed postage label to return the trains. I wrapped each toy up and sent them to the manufacturer with the attached inventory list. About four weeks later, brand new replacement trains were in my mailbox! Not only did they replace each toy, but they gave me an additional brand new Thomas the Tank Engine toy in the package! I now have about a dozen of these replacement trains which I am stockpiling for Christmas auctions. The Holidays are the best time to sell Thomas Trains, they make great stocking stuffers or can be added to an existing set as a gift. During the holidays each train piece can sell in the range of $8 to $20 dollars. If I don't sell every train, I can always sell them in larger lots or with a train platform. (Discussed a few months ago in a previous blog)

As a cautionary note, I am not certain how much longer this program will be in place. I've learned that Tomy Corporation, a huge Japanese toy conglomerate just took over RC2. Now when you attempt to go to the RC2 company website, it immediately reroutes you to Tomy.com. But until the Tomy corporation shuts down the recall program you can be the "Toxic Avenger" super hero, removing dangerous toys off the street while making money at the same time!

Do you know any other toys recalls we all should be looking for? If so, let me know in the comments section or send me your story for the website. Happy Hunting!
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  1. I have a recalled Beanie Bear I purchased in an opshop but due to this is its collectable value is $80:


    Some Beanies go for hundreds of dollars - keep an eye out on your travels from home to home, yard to yard. Here are some ideas of values:


  2. Frugal-Good stuff, so its a mermaid/slash beanie baby and they'll give you a full refund-not bad. Gonna try to keep my eye out for that one...Thanks!

    Also- You'll appreciate this, my Thomas cars came in a nice, big bubble wrap shipping envelope. I know you like to recycle like I do, so that bubble envelope is going to be put back in service on my next fragile item to be shipped! Extra score!

  3. Here is another recall item..a bunch of Dora toys and Sesame Street characters. These are the little 1-2 inch characters that every little kid loves to carry around. I found this one out because I found the Dora talking house at a yard sale..luckily mine wasn't recalled because the house is worth at least $50 resale on ebay. Here is the link to the recall.
    Thanks Money in the Garage! I recently found your blog and really enjoy it. I have been ebaying odds and ends for almost 4 years but have picked up some new tricks from you.
    Andrea (aka bargain_hunting_momma)

  4. Andrea-thanks for the tips. I am always on the lookout for Dora toys, now you given is another reason! Glad you're enjoying the blog, we'll all in this together so come back for more. Always appreciate new garage sale finds too! ....dude

  5. OMG! I am sooooo glad I read this. About a month ago I bought a whole lot of about 500 pieces of tracks and trains all Thomas brand. I am going to grab that box and go look for the ones on recall. I know there must be some because the lady I bought them from had them for years (she was handing them down to her next son). So, please tell me how do I get to this site that you speak of? The site that I could check about the recalls? Since you said that it might not last long, I am going to do it tonight. I will let you know how it goes! Soooo glad I read this!

  6. GSA-Try this site .... http://recalls.rc2.com/recalls_Wood_0607.html

    That should get you started in the right direction.
    Sounds like you are going to have a bunch that fall under the recall. Hopefully you'll get the new ones in time to sell during the holiday season! Good luck!

  7. I bought a Mattel electric car for 10 bucks that needed a battery. In my search for the battery I found out the car was a recall. They sent me an
    envelope and I had to cut the battery wires and mail to them. In return
    they sent me 25 bucks. I used that to get my daughter a nicer car. I was happy with the deal. Thanks for all your great advice Dude!


  8. well Im a little late in reading this but noticed Ryker has 2 items that were on the recalled list. I requested a shipping label so we will see what happens.

    One recall I did recently was for a Radio Flyer ride on toy. I had to send in the wheels and I got a check for $20