Amazon sued by U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission over defective products

(GeekWire file photo)

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) sued Amazon Wednesday for forcing the retailer to take legal responsibility for the recall of faulty products sold on its third-party marketplace.

The complaint alleges that Amazon sold children’s sleepwear, carbon monoxide detectors, and hairdryers that put consumers at risk of serious injury or death. Amazon removed most of its products, but CPSC says its measures are “insufficient” and is demanding an official recall.

“Today’s vote to file an administrative complaint against Amazon was a big step forward for this small agency,” said incumbent CPSC chairman Robert Adler in a statement. “But it’s a giant step through a vast desert – we have to grapple with how to be more efficient with these giant third-party platforms and best protect the American consumers who rely on them.”

This is the latest legal case where Amazon is blamed for dangerous items sold on by third-party sellers, which make up a large portion of the company’s total online retail sales.

In a statement, Amazon said it has already removed the products, notified customers of potential safety concerns, advised customers to destroy the products, and given customers a full refund.

“For the remaining few products in question, the CPSC has not provided Amazon with enough information for us to take action and, despite our requests, CPSC has not responded,” a spokesman said. “Amazon has an industry leading recall program, and we have continued to offer to expand our recall processing capabilities for all products sold in our store, whether those products were sold or exported by Amazon or third parties. We’re not sure why the CPSC refused this offer or why they filed a complaint to force us to take action that is almost entirely the same as the action already taken. “

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