Total recall: Amazon faces legal action from US consumer protection group over hazardous goods

24-page complaint lists thousands of products deemed to be unsafe


Amazon is facing legal action in the US from a consumer protection group over the sale of allegedly faulty goods including carbon monoxide detectors and hairdryers.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) yesterday filed a complaint against Amazon.com to force the etailer to "accept responsibility for recalling potentially hazardous products sold on Amazon.com."

But Amazon has already hit back, claiming in a statement that it removed many items for sale when notified and has been working with the CPSC to resolve the other outstanding concerns.

According to legal documents, the complaint centres on "specific products [that] are defective and pose a risk of serious injury or death to consumers."

The named products contained in the 24-page complaint [PDF] include 24,000 faulty carbon monoxide detectors, numerous children's pyjamas that are not fireproof, and nearly 400,000 hairdryers that aren't properly insulated.

All the items named were being sold by third-party sellers.

"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," said the CPSC in a statement.

"Although Amazon has taken certain action with respect to some of the named products, the complaint charges that those actions are insufficient," it added.

For its part, Amazon said "customer safety is a top priority" and that "for the vast majority of the products in question, Amazon already immediately removed the products from our store."

It continued:

For the remaining few products in question, the CPSC did not provide Amazon with enough information for us to take action and despite our requests, CPSC has remained unresponsive.

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.

Yesterday, Unite – the UK's largest trade union, with some 1.4 million members – accused Amazon of inflating prices for items such as hand sanitiser and other health products sold via its e-store during the pandemic.

Working with competition lawyers Preiskel & Co LLP, Unite submitted a formal complaint to the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) over alleged "abuse of its market position in relation to price gouging at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic."

Amazon yesterday played down the complaint insisting there was "no place for price gouging on Amazon." ®

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