Holding Amazon Accountable for Selling Hazardous Products

amazon fulfillment of hazardous productsCan Amazon be sued by consumers injured by unsafe products sold by Amazon? That has become the subject of recent litigation and discussions.

In Massachusetts, those who sell unreasonably dangerous products can be held responsible for the injuries resulting from the foreseeable use of the dangerous products.

The CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) recently sued Amazon in an attempt to force the company to take responsibility and recall hazardous products being sold on their website, Amazon.com.

Since 2019, Amazon has sold 24,000 faulty carbon monoxide detectors that fail to alarm, 400,000 hairdryers with risk of shock or electrocution, and numerous children’s sleepwear garments made from potentially flammable fabric. The CPSC’s complaint charges that these “products are defective and pose a risk of serious injury or death to consumers and that Amazon is legally responsible for recalling them.” These products were all offered on Amazon’s website by third-party sellers, but that still leaves Amazon responsible for the distribution of these products. The committee wants to hold Amazon accountable and ensure the company takes the correct actions when recalling the products.

Amazon came back to the complaint filed by the CPSC, saying that they had already recalled the products. Amazon claims that they already seized sales of the products, notified their buyers, and issued refunds. However, the online retailer did not require customers to return the recalled products before issuing refunds. Therefore, these products remain a risk in households.

Amazon stated, “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.” However, the CPSC rejected that offer. Amazon’s pledge would allow for 3rd party online marketplaces to handle recalls themselves. The CPSC would have to take Amazon’s word that the 3rd party marketplaces would appropriately address recalls. And that Amazon would provide regular reports so that the committee could follow up as needed. Additionally troubling is that if Amazon did not adequately tell customers how to ship back or destroy dangerous products, then the CPSC may not be able to take any actions in following up on recalled items.

The current statute gives CPSC legal authority over importers, distributors, and manufacturers but not online marketplaces, which were not around when the laws were written. So now the CPSC is pushing Amazon to be legally responsible for their “Fulfilled by Amazon” products, even though they are sold from 3rd party marketplaces.

The committee is arguing that Amazon’s handling its “Fulfilled by Amazon” products make it a distributor under the law. However, Amazon refuses to take that responsibility.

If you have suffered an injury because of a defective and/or dangerous product, you should consult with an experienced lawyer who can evaluate whether or not the designer, manufacturer, and/or seller of the product failed to keep you safe and free from foreseeable danger.

The lawyers at DILLER LAW do not charge a fee for the initial consultation because we generally work on a contingency fee and we understand how difficult financially it is for those who have recently suffered an injury resulting from a defective product.

For a free legal consultation call us now at (617) 523-7771 or fill out our form on the top right side of this web page.

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