Dangerous Products at the Amazon Marketplace
Who’s Responsible When Someone is Injured?
Many people do not fully realize that products are sold through Amazon, the mammoth internet retail venue, in two different ways. Most folks who do understand that products of different types are sold through Amazon in two distinctly different ways don’t appreciate what historically has been the legal consequences of these disparate sales avenues.
First, products are sold through Amazon directly. Second, hundreds of thousands of products are also sold every year through the Amazon Marketplace. Amazon Marketplace is described as a platform through which third-parties sell a myriad of products each and every day.
As of 2018, the volume of sales via the Amazon Marketplace made up the majority of transactions through the digital giant. In fact, the spike upward in sales through the Amazon Marketplace was so swift, so dramatic, that as of 2018, Marketplace sales were about double the sales volume made directly through Amazon itself. The Amazon Marketplace sales volume reached $175 billion by 2018.
Up until the latter part of 2019, Amazon had been successful in defending against lawsuits brought by consumers who purchased products through the Marketplace that turned out to be defective or even dangerous. Amazon has successfully defended claims for injuries or even deaths arising from defective products sold through the Marketplace by contending Amazon was merely providing a platform and had no liability or responsibility for these third-party sales.
Thousands of Unsafe and Even Banned Products Sold Through the Marketplace
An in-depth investigation of the Amazon Marketplace was undertaken by the Wall Street Journal in the latter part of 2019. The investigation revealed that thousands of dangerous products are being sold through the Amazon Marketplace. These include products banned and declared unsafe by federal consumer protection agencies. The 4,000-plus products being sold at the Amazon Marketplace deemed unsafe or even banned by government agencies because they are so hazardous include:
- Medications without child safety protections or warnings
- Products alleged to be “FDA-approved” that were never vetted by that consumer watchdog agency
- Illegally imported prescription drugs
- Unsafe electronics (including devices false identified as “UL-certified”)
- Dangerous child’s toys, including products with dangerous levels of lead
- Banned sleeping wedges for babies
- And many other highly dangerous products
A Chink the Amazon Armor
In the past decade, Amazon has faced over 60 federal lawsuits involving defective or dangerous products sold through the Marketplace. With the exception of settlements made by Amazon with injured people for one reason or another, the company had been successful in defending these cases in court, contending the company wasn’t responsible for merchandise sold through the Marketplace because “Amazon merely provides a sales platform to third-parties.” In the latter part of 2019, a chink the Amazon armor occurred in a case arising out of Pennsylvania.
Initially, the U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania ruled in favor of Amazon and dismissed a case involving a defective product claim involving the Marketplace. The plaintiff or injured party appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals overturned the decision of the trial court, the judges ruling Amazon could in fact be held responsible for injuries caused by defective products sold through the Marketplace.
Amazon indicated that it intends to pursue the case further if necessary, including to the U.S. Court of Appeals. In the aftermath of the Court of Appeals' decision, a number of cases involving Amazon and its Marketplace have been put on hold in anticipation of a potential sea change in regard to the liability or responsibility of the retail behemoth for merchandise sold through the Marketplace.
Protecting Your Legal Rights in a Defective Product Case
If you or a loved one has been injured because of a defective or dangerous product of some sort, you need to be proactive when it comes to protecting your vital legal rights. A defective product injury lawyer from The Doan Law Firm stands ready to schedule a preliminary consultation and case evaluation with you at your convenience. This includes a situation involving defective or even dangerous products purchased through the Amazon system.
You can reach a defective product injury lawyer from our firm by calling us at (800) 349-0000 any time of the day or night, 365 days a year. A nationwide law firm, we’ve office from coast-to-coast across the United States. In addition, we can schedule a virtual consultation via the internet as well. There is no charge for an initial consultation.
The Doan Law Firm also makes an attorney fee promise to you. We never charge a fee unless we win for you.