On September 10th 2020, CNN released an explosive report on the increasing number of dangerous fires linked to AmazonBasic products. According to their investigation, from 2016 to the present, there have been over 1,500 complaints lodged against 70 different products from the AmazonBasic line. What makes this story all the more unbelievable is that in that time, Amazon has made a grand total of two public recalls of products linked to these dangerous events.
Now, three senators; Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Robert Menendez of New Jersey, and Ed Markey of Massachusetts have demanded that Amazon issue recalls for products linked with dangerous fires. “Amazon must immediately stop the sale of dangerous and defective AmazonBasics products, recall them, and effectively and immediately notify consumers of potential risks,” they wrote in a scathing letter to Jeff Bezos, CEO of the online retail giant. Amazon responded with a general statement that “safety is a top priority” but stopped short of directly responding to the senators’ concerns.
AmazonBasic offers everyday consumer electronics
So what is causing all of this concern? According to the investigation conducted by CNN, AmazonBasic products are now linked to an array of complaints including but not limited to:
- Phone chargers said to have burned peoples hands and legs
- Exploding batteries spraying chemicals on someones face
- Microwaves catching fire
- A surge protector turning into a “blowtorch” with flames shooting out of the device
- USB cords bursting into flames inside vehicles
- Paper shredders turning on by themselves and blowing “fireballs”
CNN discovered 70 products with reviews citing explosions, fires, melting, smoking, and other dangers. Yet of those 70, Amazon still has over 30 items still listed for sale on its website, and has only issued two public recalls. This means that consumers may still have these dangerous items in their homes and vehicles.
One man suffered second degree burns due to a faulty USB cable, and successfully filed a lawsuit against Amazon over his injuries. He settled with them for an undisclosed amount, and Amazon has kept quiet on the subject since then. Yet CNN found in their reporting that Amazon continued to sell the faulty USB cable that caused the man’s injuries for at least five months after he was hospitalized, and to this day has not issued a recall. CNN also uncovered that consumers had been warning about this cable for up to a year prior to the fire, posting multiple reviews stating the cord was a fire hazard, all while no action was taken by Amazon.
What Steps Are Being Taken to Protect Consumers Against AmazonBasics Fires?
For at least the past four years, consumers have been warning against these faulty products, and congress is at last taking action. Stating that these products could “continue to pose an ongoing threat to consumers that have already purchased these products until they are recalled” the three senators are urging Amazon to issue massive product recalls.
“It is simply not enough to delete a product’s retail listing page, leaving behind a dead URL and removing these consumer warnings from view. There is no excuse for purchasers of these products not to be immediately notified about consumer safety issues.” the Senators added. Currently, Amazon has stopped selling many of the products that have been deemed hazardous, but they have offered no explanation as to why they pulled those products but not the more than 30 other products that also have caused dangerous conditions.
Consumers need to be aware that these products could cause serious injuries and property damage to their home. No one should have to worry that a standard electronic device, such as a phone charger or a microwave, could land them in the hospital. Amazon is one of the largest companies in the world, and can afford to create products that meet current safety standards. Cutting corners and saving money is not an excuse to put consumers at risk, and Amazon needs to know that these types of dangerous business practices will not go unnoticed.
If you have been injured or experienced property damage due to a defective AmazonBasic product, you deserve to be compensated for your losses. The experienced attorneys at Thistle Law can offer you a free consultation to determine if you have a case, and will help you send a message to Amazon that they must place their consumers’ safety above all else. Contact us today by filling out our form or by calling 215-525-6824.