Although Amazon is one of the most profitable retailers in the world, the online giant may be showing signs of vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities don’t come in the form of competition, but rather in liability for dangerous and defective products.
Earlier this summer, an Appellate court in California ruled that Amazon could be held jointly liable for a defective laptop battery offered by a third party but sold through the “Fulfilled By Amazon” program. Now, the company is receiving unwanted media attention for allegedly dangerous and defective products sold under Amazon’s own label known as “AmazonBasics.”
According to a CNN report, the AmazonBasics line started in 2009 and now offers about 5,000 products, which are attractive because they tend to be cheaper than name-brand competitors. But safety advocates and consumers alike have noticed serious and dangerous problems with some AmazonBasics products, particularly electronic devices, and appliances.
In January 2017, for instance, a 20-year-old Connecticut man suffered burns and property damage when his computer chair started on fire. Investigators determined that the fire had been caused by a defective USB cable used to charge a cellphone.
There have been numerous other reports of power strips and surge protectors overheating and catching fire (which is ironic, given that surge protectors are meant to protect against such dangers). When customers have these experiences, many will post warnings in their Amazon reviews.
CNN’s analysis discovered at least 1,500 reviews posted since 2016 warning of serious dangers like electrical malfunctions, smoking, melting and fires. The analysis also found that Amazon continues to sell many of these products despite numerous users posting hazard warnings on the same products. And when products are removed over safety concerns, Amazon seemingly just stops selling them, without explanation or attempts to contact customers who bought the products.
So far, there hasn’t been much publicity surrounding lawsuits related to these defects. It seems that some cases were settled quietly by the company. But if problems persist and Amazon refuses to take customer safety seriously, the company may soon find itself embroiled in a never-ending series of product liability lawsuits that dramatically cut into financial resources and ruin the retailer’s once-strong reputation.
If you’ve been seriously injured by a dangerous or defective product sold by Amazon or any other retailer, you may be entitled to seek appropriate compensation for your injuries and losses. Please discuss your legal options with an experienced personal injury attorney.