Federal Government Sues Amazon Citing Sale of 400,000+ Hazardous ItemsLUCAS NOLAN
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) filed a lawsuit against Amazon this week over the sale of hundreds of thousands of hazardous products. Examples include carbon monoxide detectors that fail to detect carbon monoxide and flammable sleepwear marketed for children.
Ars Technica reports that the CPSC filed a complaint this week against e-commerce giant Amazon over the sale of hundreds of thousands of hazardous products, including carbon monoxide detectors that fail to detect carbon monoxide, hair dryers that don’t feature the required protection from shock and electrocution, and flammable sleepwear meant for children.
The CPSC said it sued Amazon to “force the recall” of the dangerous products. While Amazon has healed sales of most of the items already and issued refunds, the CPSC said it isn’t satisfied with how Amazon notified customers and said that the company must do more to ensure that the faulty products are destroyed in order to avoid injury to customers.
The products were offered by third parties using the “Fulfilled by Amazon” (FBA) program, in which Amazon stores products in its warehouses, ships them to customers, and takes a large cut from the profits generated.
The complaint did not refer to any specific incidents of injury but said the evidence supporting the charges includes “lawsuits concerning incidents or injuries involving various consumer products identified in the Complaint.” It also said that CPSC staff tested the products and found that they don’t meet safety requirements.
“The complaint charges that the specific products are defective and pose a risk of serious injury or death to consumers and that Amazon is legally responsible to recall them,” the CPSC announcement said. “The named products include 24,000 faulty carbon monoxide detectors that fail to alarm, numerous children’s sleepwear garments that are in violation of the flammable fabric safety standard risking burn injuries to children, and nearly 400,000 hairdryers sold without the required immersion protection devices that protect consumers against shock and electrocution.”
The CPSC said its complaint “seeks to force Amazon, as a distributor of the products, to stop selling these products, work with CPSC staff on a recall of the products, and to directly notify consumers who purchased them about the recall and offer them a full refund.”
CPSC Acting Chairman Robert Adler stated: “We must grapple with how to deal with these massive third-party platforms more efficiently, and how best to protect the American consumers who rely on them.”
Amazon told Ars Technica in a statement:
Customer safety is a top priority and we take prompt action to protect customers when we are aware of a safety concern. As the CPSC’s own complaint acknowledges, for the vast majority of the products in question, Amazon already immediately removed the products from our store, notified customers about potential safety concerns, advised customers to destroy the products, and provided customers with full refunds. For the remaining few products in question, the CPSC did not provide Amazon with enough information for us to take action and despite our requests, CPSC has remained unresponsive. Amazon has an industry-leading recalls program and we have further offered to expand our capabilities to handle recalls for all products sold in our store, regardless of whether those products were sold or fulfilled by Amazon or third-party sellers. We are unclear as to why the CPSC has rejected that offer or why they have filed a complaint seeking to force us to take actions almost entirely duplicative of those we’ve already taken.
Read more at Ars Technica here.