CPSC Sues Amazon for Selling Unsafe Products
August 17, 2021
In a bold legal move, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is suing Amazon in order to force the company to conduct a large-scale recall of hazardous products that it sells on its website. While the lawsuit is a step in the right direction for protecting millions of consumers from dangerous and defective products, the CPSC says it is still grappling with how to regulate third-party platforms in a more efficient manner.
There are nearly 10 million third-party sellers across Amazon’s global marketplaces. Third-party retailers account for approximately 50% of the company’s annual sales; in 2020, the company’s revenues grew to $386 billion. Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world. It is not the only company that hosts third-party sellers. There are millions upon millions of third party retailers in the United States and abroad. The CPSC is tasked with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from thousands of product types but with so many retailers in the mix, the federal safety watchdog is struggling to keep up while consumers are being put in harm’s way.
The CPSC’s complaint against Amazon charges that the company is legally responsible for recalling hundreds of thousands of defective and dangerous products that it sells across its platform. These products create numerous risks for consumers, such as:
- 400,000 hair dryers that do not have required immersion protection devices. Immersion protection devices are required by federal law because they safeguard consumers against electrocution and shock
- Children’s sleepwear products, like fleece and flannel sleep robes, that fail to comply with federal flammable fabric safety standards
- 24,000 carbon monoxide detectors that fail to sound an alarm when carbon monoxide is present
The CPSC is not alone in lodging complaints against Amazon for selling dangerous products. Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered the online retailer to stop selling illegal pesticides. The EPA issued a “stop sale” order on more than 100 products, some of which even claimed to protect consumers against viruses. The EPA has issued three stop sale orders on illegal pesticides to Amazon in the last three years alone.
Amazon claims that it removed most of the dangerous products that the CPSC cited in its complaint from its website, sent notices to customers, and provided refunds, but a spokesperson also says that the company is unable to remove every product due to a lack of information. While Amazon claims the CPSC has not provided them with enough details to sufficiently protect consumers from the dangerous products it sells them, the CPSC is showing no signs of backing down.
The CPSC’s complaint alleges that Amazon’s “unilateral actions are insufficient to remediate the hazards”, so the agency wants Amazon to take additional steps to remedy this public safety concern by:
- Issuing a statement to the public to make them aware of potential hazards
- Recovering and destroying all the products that were sold, at no cost to the customer
While it is good that Amazon has taken steps to remove some of the hazardous products from its marketplaces, the company needs to do more to ensure consumer safety. With no shortage of recalls, stop sale orders, and complaints against them, it is clear that Amazon needs to place more emphasis on keeping its customers safe.
Injured by a Defective Product?
Manufacturers, sellers, and suppliers of products like Amazon have a legal obligation to sell or produce safe products. When a product causes an injury due to an unsafe design, a manufacturing defect, or the failure to provide proper instructions, the victim can file a products liability lawsuit. When you file a products liability lawsuit, you will have to prove that the product’s defectiveness caused injury or exacerbated an existing injury. To do this, you will want an experienced attorney on your side. At Galfand Berger, our attorneys have successfully litigated product liability claims on behalf of our injured clients. If you would like to learn more about filing a claim, someone at our firm can help. Contact a representative online now.
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