Despite its huge resources, Amazon has struggled for years to prevent the sale of counterfeit, illegal, and dangerous products on its online marketplace.
In the latest court case, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) is suing Amazon in a bid to force the retailer to take responsibility for the hazardous goods sold on its platform.
Over the years, Amazon has managed to greatly expand its product range by letting thousands of private sellers use its website for their business.
However, adding all these additional merchants has resulted in a sharp increase in fake or dangerous items being sold, some of which pose a risk of serious injury or even death.
The lawsuit has ruled that Amazon needs to take responsibility and protect consumers from this by recalling these products, even if they’re being sold by an independent seller.
Among some of the defective items being sold were faulty 24,00 carbon monoxide alarms, children’s clothing that didn’t meet the flammable fabric safety standard, and 400,000 hairdryers which, according to CSPC, pose a risk of shock or electrocution.
Acting Chairman of the CSPC Robert Adler said in a statement, “Today’s vote to file an administrative complaint against Amazon was a huge step forward for this small agency.
“But it’s a huge step across a vast desert—we must grapple with how to deal with these massive third-party platforms more efficiently, and how best to protect them. But the addition of so many independent sellers has not been without issues.”
Amazon responded by issuing its own statement, saying that it’s now removed the majority of the products in question from its website and offered refunds to consumers that bought them.
However, the CPSC responded, “Although Amazon has taken certain action with respect to some of the named products, the complaint charges that those actions are insufficient.