Senators demand recalls after CNN report finds Amazon’s own products are being flagged as fire hazards

Senators demand recalls after CNN report finds Amazon’s own products are being flagged as fire hazards

September 11, 2020 Off By administrator
In a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Friday, Senators Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Ed Markey of Massachusetts wrote that CNN’s reporting on the AmazonBasics product line showed how the retailer had ignored serious safety concerns from customers about certain electronics — saying they could “continue to pose an ongoing threat to consumers that have already purchased these products until they are recalled.”
Amazon did not directly respond to the senators’ concerns but said “safety is a top priority” and that its products meet all applicable safety standards. The company said it takes a number of steps to ensure AmazonBasics products are safe and high quality, such as selecting experienced manufacturers, monitoring customer feedback and testing items to ensure they pass safety and compliance standards both before and after they are available. It also directed CNN to a blog post it published in response to the investigation.

“We want customers to shop with confidence and if ever a customer has a concern, they can contact customer service and we will investigate,” the company said.

AmazonBasics is one of the retailer’s popular private label lines, offering more than 5,000 budget-friendly products that range from cell phone chargers to kitchen appliances. CNN found at least 1,500 reviews on the Amazon website, covering more than 70 items, that described safety risks. Within those reviews, many consumers explicitly called out items as potentially dangerous — using terms such as “hazard” or “fire” or saying the product should be recalled. Around 30 items with three or more reviews like this remained for sale on Amazon.com.

Some AmazonBasics products became unavailable after CNN began its reporting, and at least four product pages were removed from the retailer’s site entirely — leaving behind dead URLs known by employees as “dog pages.”

One item highlighted by CNN and cited in the letter to Bezos, an AmazonBasics surge protector, continued to be sold for nearly two years after a concerned father reported that it had turned into a “blowtorch.” He ultimately received a roughly $1,500 payment to cover damage to his home, but the surge protector remained available — even though more than 40 customers had reported the product was a fire hazard, had caused damage to their home or belongings or described other dangers.

Amazon pulled the surge protector from its site weeks after CNN began looking into the device, but did not appear to provide any notification to customers, including to news reporters who purchased it. And it did not post any message on its site about why it was taken down.

Matt Citro says that he sent back his charred surge protector so that it could be investigated by Amazon. He never heard…

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