Untested makeup, faulty phone chargers and unsafe toys were some of the recalled or counterfeit items that Los Angeles officials warned against buying for holiday gifts.
L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer and District Attorney Jackie Lacey held a news conference Tuesday alerting consumers about unsafe goods, including a bike helmet with a faulty strap that that was recalled but they said was still being sold on Walmart's website.
The City Attorney's Office sent Walmart a cease-and-desist letter after finding the helmet online, Feuer said.
“Especially as the federal government has retreated from consumer protection, leading offices like Ms. Lacey's and I to have to step in, it’s especially important that Walmart do this itself," Feuer said. "It shouldn’t be dependent on the City Attorney of Los Angeles to identify recalled items on its website.”
In response to questions following the news conference, Walmart told KTLA the helmet was being sold by a third party seller and was "immediately" removed from their website.
Walmart released the following statement:
"The items identified in City Attorney Feuer’s letter were not sold by Walmart.com – they were offered by a third party Marketplace seller. It is against our public facing prohibited items policy for a seller to offer any recalled products on our platform and the item has been removed and the seller has been notified. The items have been added to our recall database to block them from being republished by this or another seller."
Officials also warned about other products like fake Kylie Lip Kit makeup that may not have been properly tested, children's car seats that do not meet regulations and phone chargers that could shock and electrocute users.
Feuer said over 400 counterfeit chargers were tested and 99% didn’t work.
The unsafe products were often found online and with street vendors, and many came from China and were deeply discounted, Feuer said, adding that brick-and-mortar stores are less likely to sell illegitimate goods.
Officials also found many children's toys that could be unsafe.
Lacey said her office recently filed a counterfeit goods case against an El Monte man for selling more than $1.4 million worth of toys and backpacks, which were all illegally labeled like well-known brands, including Shopkins, Supermario, Pokemon and other popular children's toys. The man, who was not named, faces 12 years in custody if convicted as charged, according to Lacey.
“The sale of counterfeit goods not only undermines our economy and jobs, but also may out hazardous items in the hands of children," Lacey said.
Authorities said those who sell recalled items at brick-and-mortar stores usually have to pay fines up to $100,000.
A complete list of products recently recalled across the country can be found here.
Officials offered consumers tips make sure they don't buy fake and untested gifts for their loved ones:
- Check labels on the product to make sure they've been properly tested and approved.
- Be wary of deeply discounted products because they are likely counterfeit.
- Check for misspellings on the packaging.