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Dangerous Products on Amazon

Posted on October 7, 2019

Products for sale on Amazon could be dangerous despite descriptions that cite safety, discovered a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporting team. Their investigation, shared in a WSJ podcast, revealed widespread safety issues with mislabeled, recalled and banned products from third-party sellers.

Amazon originally sold books, later expanding into other items. However, expanding its marketplace to third-party sellers increased risk, according to the podcast, as the business grew so fast that Amazon couldn’t police all products. As a result, there were potentially thousands of items that put buyers at risk.

The podcast told the story of Albert Stokes, a young man who bought a motorcycle helmet listed on Amazon as meeting DOT standards. Tragically, he died wearing that helmet in a 30-mph crash. The helmet was later tested by NHTSA, found defective, and recalled. Amazon removed it, but it was later listed under another third-party seller. In another example on the podcast, a toy labeled “Amazon’s Choice,” based on an algorithm that takes into account ratings and shipping time was purchased by the WSJ, who sent it to a testing lab where it was found to have four times the legal lead limit.

Amazon now uses machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to search for unsafe products. The AI tool blocked 3 billion products from the site last year.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product and you are unsure of your legal rights, it may help to speak to an experienced Pennsylvania product liability attorney. You are welcome contact us anytime.