markets may conjure up images of rusty farm tools or home-made crafts for sale,
or an opportunity to pick up antique furniture for bargain prices. The
Better Business Bureau has bumped into a couple of complaints recently that
challenge that image, and Bob Manista is here this morning to share a warning
about what has been turning up for sale at a couple of local markets.
1. How much trouble can we get
into buying something at a flea market?
have to ask the guy who paid in full for getting a tattoo from one booth, only
to show up the next week to get it finished and find the artist gone, or
anybody who has been buying black market DVDs of movies that are still in
theaters and found the quality of the discs bad or that the disc quit halfway through
nature of a flea market is that the person renting the booth may or may not be
back next week, and short of some agreement you might make with them, they
don’t tend to have formal return policies for the items they sell.
the instances I just mentioned, there are serious legal concerns about what’s
being sold, and while it’s unlikely any enforcement agency is going to take the
time to raid a flea market, wrong is just plain wrong.
2. Someone could argue that
some services being made available through flea markets or other unconventional
sales make them affordable for folks who couldn’t get them otherwise, couldn’t
but there’s a reason some of these sales are regulated. It costs money
for a tattoo artist to be registered with the state, and more money to register
a tattoo parlor, and I’d assume that a tattoo stand at a flea market isn’t
paying that fee. Those fees are paid to make sure you know you’re dealing
with a reputable artist in a clean shop. Going outside the system like
that, you run the risk of infections and Hepatitis. Is it worth saving a
few bucks to run that risk?
far as buying bootleg DVDs, we could debate the cost of taking a family of five
to see a movie in a theater, plus the cost of popcorn, and maybe you don’t care
too much about the quality of a bootleg versus seeing the movie on a big
screen. In this case, you get what you pay for, and you really can’t file
a complaint through the BBB that the illegal copy of the movie you bought isn’t
a reason you see all those warnings at the beginning of a store-bought
movie. Besides copyright laws, the owners of the movie have some
commitment to quality. Bootleggers don’t.
3. Whatever is being sold at
the individual booths, wouldn’t the owner of the flea market be
at all. Unless we were talking about some significant piece of wrongdoing
and illegal activity and law enforcement knew the owner was involved somehow,
the owner of a flea market isn’t responsible for what’s being sold under his
roof. He’s renting space to individual sellers, and that’s where his
a practical matter, that also means that the owner isn’t responsible when
something you purchased at a flea market doesn’t work. There’s no return
policy, and if there was, the owner would be pretty far away from it.
the real world, you can’t even depend on the operator of the flea market
knowing an address or having any contact information for the individual
sellers. Even if they had a phone number, they would not be obligated to
share it with you.