Selling second-hand goods at your church

06 January 2020

People love buying second-hand and selling these goods is a great way of raising extra funds for your church, parish or community group.

Table-top second-hand sale

Selling-second hand goods to fundraise

Frequently, goods are donated by well-meaning members of the public and can include a wide variety of items. Examples include electrical goods, toys, bicycles, furniture, clothing and other home wear.  
Whether you sell these through a ‘bring and buy’ sale, fête, fair or other activity, there are a few points you may need to consider where you are a seller.

What the law says about selling second-hand goods

The law covering the selling of second-hand goods can be quite complex. However, broadly speaking, sellers are responsible for ensuring that goods are checked and are safe to sell onwards.
If you have any questions or queries then it makes sense to have a chat with your local Trading Standards office to seek clarification.

Precautions you can take when selling second-hand goods

Typical precautions include:
  • when planning a sale, set out some basic rules about what you can and cannot accept 
  • setting aside an appropriate place to store and check donations
  • checking that all equipment is complete, with all necessary safeguards fitted, and free from obvious defects
  • getting a competent person to check electrical goods and labelling them to show that this has been done
  • finding out if upholstered furniture meets fire safety standards, by checking the labelling
  • obtaining important information for toys such as the age range of the product, particularly whether it is suitable for children under 36 months (due to choking hazards)
  • ensuring that toys and electrical goods have a CE mark
  • ensuring that all toys are clean and where possible washed prior to being sold
  • never selling second-hand electric or fire blankets, as their history, usage and condition may be unknown
  • not accepting counterfeit goods, such as DVDs, CDs, T-shirts, bags and perfumes
  • making sure that films (DVDs) have been classified by the BBFC
  • never selling DVDs or video games to anyone not meeting the age on the certificate.
Please note: this list is not exhaustive

Would you like to know more?

You can learn more about selling second-hand goods by reading our guide to the sale of second-hand goods which provides more detailed information.