The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) last month filed an administrative complaint against Amazon.com, the world’s largest retailer, to force the company to accept responsibility for recalling potentially hazardous products sold online.
“Today’s vote to file an administrative complaint against Amazon was a huge step forward for this small agency,” said acting Chairman Robert Adler. “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.”
The complaint charges that the specific products are defective and pose a risk of serious injury or death to consumers and that Amazon is legally responsible to recall them.
The named products include 24,000 faulty carbon monoxide detectors that fail to alarm, numerous children’s sleepwear garments that are in violation of the flammable fabric safety standard risking burn injuries to children, and nearly 400,000 hair dryers sold without the required immersion protection devices that protect consumers against shock and electrocution.
The Commission voted 3-1 to approve the complaint, which seeks to force Amazon, as a distributor of the products, to stop selling these products, work with CPSC staff on a recall of the products and to directly notify consumers who purchased them about the recall and offer them a full refund.
Although Amazon has taken certain action with respect to some of the named products, the complaint charges that those actions are insufficient.
The agency urges consumers to visit SaferProducts.gov to check for recalls prior to purchasing products and to report any incidents or injuries to the CPSC.