U.S. Officials Are Urging Amazon to Stop Selling These Popular Products
The CPSC is suing the online mega retailer to force a recall of the "potentially hazardous" items.
As the world's largest online retailer, Amazon has revolutionized the way we shop for and purchase everything from expensive electronics to basic pantry staples. But even if the convenience of finding practically everything you could ever need in one place has made them a part of everyday life worldwide, the company isn't without its fair share of controversies and concerns—including the safety of some items they ship. Now, U.S. officials are suing Amazon to stop the retailer from selling some popular items that have been deemed "potentially hazardous" by consumer safety watchdogs. Read on to see if you've purchased any of the items that are considered too dangerous for customers.
The CPSC wants Amazon to issue a recall on carbon monoxide detectors that don't work.
In a lawsuit filed on July 14, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) sued Amazon to force the company to recall "potentially hazardous products" from its online store. One of the products listed in the complaint includes 24,000 carbon monoxide detectors called WJZXTEK, which the CPSC recently discovered did not work, The Washington Post reports.
However, although Amazon stopped selling the items and contacted customers to offer a refund, it later refused to work with the CPSC on issuing a safety recall on the faulty products. According to their lawsuit, the consumer watchdog industry claims that "Amazon's unilateral actions are insufficient to remediate the hazards."
The agency is also looking for certain hairdryers and children's sleepwear to be pulled, as well.
In the same lawsuit, the CPSC listed 400,000 hairdryers sold by the online retailer as a major concern. According to the agency's filing, the products in question don't have the required safety components that protect customers against shock or electrocution when they are accidentally immersed in water.
Children's sleepwear was also listed in the CPSC's complaint for falling short of the agency's strict guidance on flammability. The products were part of a recall issued by the CPSC on June 30, which deemed 8,000 children's nightgowns from Auranso Official, 4,900 children's nightgowns from clothing manufacturer Booph, and 900 SIORO 100 percent cotton long-sleeved, hooded children's robes that were exclusively through Amazon.
Other lawsuits have attempted to bring Amazon to heel when it comes to product safety.
The CPSC's lawsuit comes after the consumer watchdog agency failed to persuade Amazon to follow their established rules for removing potentially hazardous items from the online marketplace, an anonymous senior agency official told The Post. The same official said that Amazon refused to acknowledge that the CPSC could potentially force the company to remove products that were deemed unsafe.
Other recent court cases have addressed Amazon's responsibility in selling potentially hazardous items from poorly vetted third parties. In April, a California appeals court held the online retailer liable for burn injuries caused by a hoverboard scooter that it had never stored nor shipped. But a ruling in June by the Texas Supreme Court found that the e-commerce company was not liable for injuries sustained by a toddler who swallowed batteries from a third-party remote control that had been deemed defective by the CPSC.
"Today's vote to file an administrative complaint against Amazon was a huge step forward for this small agency," Robert Adler, CPSC Acting Chairman, said in a statement regarding the lawsuit. "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 the American consumers who rely on them."
Amazon says it considers customer safety a "top priority."
In an email on July 15, an Amazon spokesperson told Best Life that "customer safety is a top priority" for the e-commerce retailer and that "prompt action to protect customers" is taken whenever safety is in question. "As the CPSC's own complaint acknowledges, for the vast majority of the products in question, Amazon already immediately removed the products from our store, notified customers about potential safety concerns, advised customers to destroy the products, and provided customers with full refunds." They added that the CPSC hadn't provided them with enough information regarding the remaining few products to take action.
"Amazon has an industry-leading recalls program and 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," the spokesperson said. "We are unclear as to why the CPSC has rejected that offer or why they have filed a complaint seeking to force us to take actions almost entirely duplicative of those we've already taken."