Federal Safety Lawsuit Against Amazon Underlines Need to Bolster Online Marketplace Transparency
Consumer Product Safety Commission Suit Highlights how Amazon is a Sanctuary for Third-Party Sellers Peddling Defective Products
Washington, DC – Today, the Buy Safe America Coalition issued the following statement on the lawsuit filed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) against Amazon, the latest attempt to hold the e-commerce company responsible for the defective products sold through its marketplace.
“This lawsuit is a stark reminder to lawmakers and consumers that Amazon’s approach to marketplace transparency continues to fall short,” said Michael Hanson, Buy Safe America Coalition spokesperson. “With Amazon’s dominant position in online shopping, their actions — or lack thereof — are simply unacceptable. The e-commerce company has stood in direct opposition to the INFORM Consumers Act, which would help remove the deluge of sellers peddling unsafe merchandise.”
The complaint filed by the CPSC pointed to several defective items sold by third-party sellers, which included 24,000 faulty carbon monoxide detectors, 400,000 hair dryers, and children’s pajamas that violated federal flammability standards. The CPSC had previously attempted to convince Amazon to follow federal regulations for removing dangerous products off its market, however the company refused to acknowledge that the agency had the authority to compel them into removing hazardous products.
The CPSC suit marks the most recent instance of Amazon failing to ensure consumer protection safeguards. In May, a court order was necessary to prevent Amazon from selling counterfeit facemasks because it had relisted its own supply of the products three times after agreeing to stop. Earlier this year, the company attempted to argue it should not be held liable for defective products sold on its marketplace, following a suit involving a toddler who suffered permanent damage when she ingested a battery that popped out of a knockoff remote control.
The Buy Safe America Coalition is urging Congress to pass the INFORM Consumers Act, which would require e-commerce platforms to collect and verify basic business information from sellers. This bipartisan, comprehensive legislation would create greater transparency online, and make it much harder for criminals and con artists to hide behind fake screen names and bogus business accounts to sell fake and hazardous products.
Visit BuySafeAmerica.org for more information about the growing problem of stolen and counterfeit goods, and solutions to better protect consumers and businesses.
The Buy Safe America Coalition represents a diverse group of responsible retailers, consumer groups, manufacturers, intellectual property advocates, and law enforcement officials who support efforts to protect consumers and communities from the sale of counterfeit and stolen goods.Learn More
The marketplace today for common, everyday goods is flooded with counterfeit and stolen products. Absent reform, legitimate businesses, and consumers will continue to be harmed.Learn More
Frequently Asked Questions
What constitutes a counterfeit product? Why aren’t major online marketplaces doing more? Answers to common questions around the issue of organized retail crime.Learn More