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Avoid a Hoverboard Meltdown when Sourcing Inventory

Many online merchants take advantage of secondary markets where they can acquire overstock, returned, or refurbished inventory to sell on marketplaces like eBay and Amazon. But the recent hoverboard scare raises important issues about product safety and seller liability.

As we reported on Monday, Amazon has restricted the sale of hoverboards, while Overstock has banned them outright on its marketplace.

B-Stock Solutions cofounder and CEO Howard Rosenberg had a reminder for merchants about purchasing returned/overstock inventory from retailers in light of concerns over consumer safety issues presented by hoverboards, some of which have caught fire.

B-Stock Solutions helps enterprise clients (major brands and retailers) liquidate excess, overstock, returned, and end-of-life inventory, and one of the ways it does that is through B2B marketplaces, including BstockSupply.com.

Rosenberg said most large, multi-billion dollar retailers are pretty careful about vetting the products they put in their stores for safety. “I would be pretty surprised to see retailers selling non-safety certified hoverboards, for example,” he said.

“This isn’t to say a reseller should operate on blind faith that any returns sold by a multi-billion retailer can be assumed safe. Resellers should always remain vigilant about doing their homework to vet any products they decide to purchase.”

He said today the internet makes it very easy to for check consumer safety alerts or warnings and to identify product recalls. “Steer clear of anything that is likely to create liability for you downstream,” he advised.

B-Stock Solutions noted recently that holiday returns account for 10 percent of holiday sales, or about $60 billion worth of merchandise. That makes for a tempting source of inventory for resourceful sellers – just beware of jumping on the latest fad.

Do you have questions about product-sourcing overstock and returns? Send an email to ina@ ecommercebytes.com.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.