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Dealer Malcolm Smith publicizes outrage over lead law

March 20, 2009
Filed under Features

Southern California dealership owner Malcolm Smith told Powersports Business that “I know I’m taking a big chance” before defying federal law and selling outlawed youth ATVs and bikes.

Smith sold three of the new units Thursday in a public display of defiance toward the controversial Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which seeks to limit the lead content in products made specifically for children 12 and under. Smith worked with a marketing agency to ensure the sale of three youth vehicles garnered regional and even national attention.

In selling the units, Smith faces a maximum civil penalty of $100,000 per individual violation. There also are criminal penalties of up to imprisonment for not more than 5 years for a knowing and willful violation.

Smith said he tried to contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission before the public event to alert them of his intentions.

Smith, who owns a dealership in Riverside, Calif., said he understands the reasoning for the regulations — to keep lead-tainted toys out of kids’ hands — but “they’ve let it get completely out of hand.

“I have to lay off people because I can’t sell the little bikes anymore.”

For more on the lead law, see an upcoming issue of Powersports Business.

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