A lawsuit filed against Amazon by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission has been billed as a ‘huge step forward’ in the fight to force the online giant to accept responsibility for the removal of dangerous items being sold online.
An administrative complaint has been brought against Amazon by the CPSC that aims to force the platform to recall hundreds of thousands of potentially deadly products being sold by third-party sellers.
The complaint has questioned a number of children’s garments that are in violation of flammable fabric safety standards, as well as some 400,000 hair dryers being sold without protection against electrocution, and 24,000 faulty carbon monoxide detectors.
While the vote to file an administrative complaint against Amazon has been seen as a hugely positive and progressive one for a small agency, CPSC’s acting chairman, Robert Adler has likened it to ‘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.”
According to the Retail Gazette, Amazon says it has removed the ‘vast majority’ of products in question and provided full refunds on the items. However, it has until now, avoided legal responsibility for the items sold by third-party sellers on its platform.
The Amazon argument remains the same, as the online behemoth states that it acts as a ‘service provider’. But it would appear that the argument has started to wear thin, as legal battles forcing the platform to take more responsibility for items sold across it become a more regular occurrence.
Last August, the California Fourth District Court of Appeals ruled that Amazon can now be held liable for any injuries caused by defective products sold by third-party merchants on its platform. The ruling overturned one previously given by the San Diego Superior Court.