- Days left

Handmade toys may soon be too expensive for U.S. consumers

For Christmas last year, I bought my boys all handmade wooden toys. There were the delightful and pricey trucks from England; sweet round shields from here in Portland, Ore.; and the castle pieces made in Vermont. This year I'm planning to get a few more trucks, a dragon, and a couple of princes and princesses from the same Vermont toymaker. Next year? Maybe I'll make my own. Because in order to comply with the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) (an act which generally does lovely things, such as ban the manufacture of toys with lead and phthalates and ban their importation into the U.S.), all toymakers must pay a testing fee of $4,000 per type of toy they make, as well as permanently labeling them with a batch number and date (requiring them to create new molds in many cases).

The effects of this fee, while barely felt by huge toymakers such as Mattel and Hasbro, will be to all but destroy the thriving handmade toy industry in the U.S. and, for many importers, end their relationships with U.S. consumers. German wood toy maker Selecta Spielzeug has already announced its intention to pull its toys from the U.S. market, effective December 31. In a statement, the company said its retail prices would have to increase "by at least 50 percent, which would price these products out of the market." Small toymakers, such as the little company which sells wooden shields at a wholesale price of $7, would be out of business, as would nearly every other small American, Canadian and European toy company, according to the Handmade Toy Alliance. What's more, it could decimate Etsy, a marketplace for handmade goods.

As if this weren't enough bad news for toy buyers, the CPSIA only bans the manufacture of new toys containing lead and phthalates, but allows retailers to continue selling toys made before the act's effective date, February 10, 2009; prompting a lawsuit by consumer groups asking to close the loophole. Small toy makers, Waldorf-style toy retailers, and parents who love handmade toys are all getting involved in activism asking for a way to let what is, ironically, a reaction to toxic toys -- consumers embracing hand made wooden and cloth alternatives -- survive. I'm upset about this development, as I have loved involving my children in the economy of small, loving handcrafters rather than the toy industry that's so many times betrayed us.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Understanding Credit Scores

Credit scores matter -- learn how to improve your score.

View Course »

Intro to different retirement accounts

What does it mean to have a 401(k)? IRA?

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

Amending Your Income Tax Return

What if you've sent in your income tax return for a previous year and then discover you made a mistake? You can make things right by filing an amended tax return. And, don't think an amended return will automatically cost you money; it's perfectly okay to change a return to capture a tax break you missed the first time around.

How to File Taxes with IRS Form 1099-MISC

If you receive tax form 1099-MISC for services you provide to a client as an independent contractor and the annual payments you receive total $400 or more, you'll need to file your taxes a little differently than a taxpayer who only receives regular employment income reported on a W-2.

What If I Did Not File My State Taxes?

At the time of this writing, the only states that do not charge a state income tax are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. If you live or earn money in one of the other 41 states or the District of Columbia, you may need to file a state income tax return by April 15. It is a separate and independent requirement from filing your federal tax return and failure to file it on time may result in interest and penalty charges.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum