ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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ISO COPOLCO Survey Focuses on Standardization Guidelines for Second Hand Goods

Response deadline extended to March 20th

New York, Mar 07, 2003

As the spring and summer seasons approach, so too does the season for yard and garage sales, and flea markets. A source of income, bargains and entertainment for millions of Americans each year, the primary purpose of these gatherings is the exchange of previously-owned products, often referred to as “second-hand goods.”

The increasing prevalence of second-hand goods has triggered consumer concerns about the safety, performance and product information aspects of these products, particularly as they cross national borders. London-based Consumers International (CI) — a non-profit membership organization that supports, links and represents consumer groups and agencies all over the world — first issued in 2001 a report citing evidence among its membership that a need exists for actions to ensure consumer protection in the sale and purchase of second-hand goods around the world.

The International Organization for Standardization Committee on Consumer Policy (ISO/COPOLCO) has also identified the trading of second hand goods as a priority area and recently launched its own investigation of national experiences and current practices dealing with the trading of second-hand goods. Consideration is also being given to the possible need to develop international guidelines or standards for the global trading of these products.

As the first component of its information gathering, ISO/COPOLCO is conducting a survey to research voluntary or mandatory national codes that govern the buying and selling of second-hand goods, and to identify the overall need for consumer protection in the trade of these products. The questionnaire was distributed to members of the ANSI Joint Membership Forums (JMF) via e-mail earlier today.

“Findings from this study are intended for use in prioritizing key issues for consumer protection in the trade of second-hand goods, and to support COPOLCO’s efforts to develop a more detailed proposal for consideration at its forthcoming plenary meeting in May,” explained Jim McCabe, ANSI director of consumer relations and member services and an ANSI representative to ISO/COPOLCO.

ANSI members, or other interested parties, are encouraged to provide their input to James McCabe (; 212.642.8921) as soon as possible so that a consolidated U.S. response may be prepared by the March 20, 2003 deadline.

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 Homeland Defense and Security Standardization Collaborative