From Storage Lockers to Yard Sales Safety Tips for Your Treasure Hunting Trips

Popular shows depicting antique shopping and storage auctions have ignited the spirits of bargain hunters nationwide. But when it comes to finding a great deal at an auction, estate- or yard-sale, CSA Group, a leading certification and testing organization, wants advises buyers to look closely at their purchases before using them, trading up or cashing in. While it’s true you never know what hidden treasures you might find, it’s important to keep in mind that some items, because of their age or uncertain history, might be hazardous.

CSA Group is reminding consumers that the purchase of second-hand items, such as old consumer electronics, building supplies, gas appliances, and even helmets may carry certain risks if damaged or used. Buyers should also be wary of illegal or counterfeit items found while on the hunt. To help savvy shoppers ensure that whatever riches they dig up are in fact the real deal, CSA Group offers the following safety tips:


  • Look for and inspect the mark: Avoid electrical or gas products if a label from a recognized certification organization such as CSA Group is missing. Look closely at the certification mark to ensure it matches with the design and colour of certification marks from the same organization on other similar products.
  • Find frays: Check wiring and extension cords for wear and damage. In particular, look for worn insulation and splices on the cord and loose or exposed parts on the plug. To avoid shock and fire hazards, have a qualified electrician make any repairs to ensure products meet current safety standards.
  • Be a better builder: Be wary of outdated power tools and building supplies that may not meet current standards or codes. Do not operate any power tools or equipment without having them inspected to ensure all safeguards are in place.
  • Keep your head: Avoid purchasing used bicycle, hockey or construction helmets as you do not know their history or what damage may be hidden from plain view. A helmet that has been in a serious crash may have lost its full protective capabilities.
  • Expert advice: In addition to having used and historical items appraised for their value, buyers should also seek out advice from local regulators or officials to ensure products are safe for use. Some products may have been recalled or even banned for resale in some jurisdictions.


  • Be cautious of inferior packaging: Counterfeit packaging is often poorly designed or has only partial illustrations. Misspellings and unclear printing on products and labels may be another indicator of a fake product. Check for discrepancies between the contents of the product package and its description, as well as missing product information or package enclosures.
  • Look for a recognized name: When a product doesn’t include a brand identifier or trademark, it may be a counterfeit. Brand-name companies want you to know whose product you’re buying. Also look for missing return addresses or company contact information.
  • Sturdy products only: Check the “look and feel” of goods – fake products often seem light and too flimsy.
  • Check with the experts: Confirm CSA Group certification of a product by comparing the product’s identification against the certification record at http://directories.csa-international.org.

For more everyday consumer tips and safety advice, please visit www.csasafetytips.com

About CSA Group

CSA Group is an independent, not-for-profit member-based association dedicated to advancing safety, sustainability and social good. We are an internationally-accredited standards development and testing & certification organization. We also provide consumer product evaluation and education & training services. Our broad range of knowledge and expertise includes: industrial equipment, plumbing & construction, electro-medical & healthcare, appliances & gas, alternative energy, lighting and sustainability. The CSA mark appears on billions of products around the world.


Anthony Toderian
Manager, Corporate Affairs
CSA Group
[email protected]


May 30, 2012