Amazon is going to court because it doesn’t return dangerous products in the right way

Since 2019, Amazon has sold nearly 400,000 hair dryers that could upset someone if they fall into a pool of water, 24,000 carbon monoxide detectors that don’t really detect carbon monoxide, and an unspecified number of “children’s nightwear” that couldn’t find to meet flammability (US) safety requirements. by

Now the U.S. security authority wants to force Amazon to return these products. Last week it sued the company in the case which may be the most recent holds Amazon responsible for the products offered by third party vendors. But here’s the thing: Amazon has already recalled these special products. They are no longer for sale.

Amazon says and CPSC admits that the giant retailer has already stopped selling these products, already notified its buyers and already distributed rebates.

Here is the original statement made by Amazon Limit:

Customer safety is a priority and we take prompt action to protect our customers when we know about a security issue. As stated in CPSC’s own complaint, Amazon immediately removed the products from our store, notified customers of potential security issues, advised customers to destroy the products, and offered customers a full refund for most of those products. For some of the products in question, CPSC did not provide Amazon with sufficient information to enable us to take action, and despite our requests, CPSC did not respond. Amazon has an industry-leading recall program, and we have continued to offer to expand our ability to handle return rights for all products sold in our store, whether those products are sold or filled by Amazon or third-party vendors. It is unclear to us why the CPSC has rejected that offer or why they have made a complaint asking us to force us to work almost entirely with the measures you have already taken.

What’s really going on here? We spoke to the CPSC, and it claims that there are a few major problems with the handling of Amazon. First, that the CPSC should take Amazon’s word that the return process is being handled and that these dangerous products will actually be destroyed.

In its statement, Amazon says the CPSC rejected an offer to work together on this issue, and it looks like it might be true – because Amazon’s offer was a “proposed recall promise” that would allow e-commerce sites to control themselves. Here is the proposal Amazon sent to the CPSC on May 6:

The CPSC initially suggested to us that the pledge was also not a legally binding agreement – it might have to take the word from Amazon that, for example, it would provide regular reports on the progress of the withdrawal so that the CPSC could monitor the matter. If Amazon doesn’t tell customers enough how to destroy dangerous products or return them free of charge, CPSC may not be able to operate.

Amazon suggests that is not true. “Amazon proposed a legally binding agreement, which was developed and agreed with CPSC staff,” it says. Limit. According to the dealer, it worked “hand in hand” with CPSC throughout the process, used a return model that we “discussed and agreed with CPSC staff,” and suggests that it does not understand why CPSC changed its mind.

Neither Amazon nor the CPSC gave Limit see a copy of its proposed agreement, but Amazon provided us with copies of the return notifications we sent to customers. One example:

Amazon believes there is a simple reason why you don’t see a mention of returns: “Amazon did not require the return of these products prior to granting a refund because CPSC had not requested us and because such a step is unusual for returns of these product types,” Amazon says. Limit.

However, there are bigger things at stake than the return of these particular products. The CPSC movement also aims to find an authority to initially force the market to appeal to large online retailer markets, such as Amazon, marketplaces that did not exist at the time the law was drafted – in this way, it does not always have to trust Amazon’s willingness to comply. Robert Adler, President of the CPSC, alludes to this difficulty in his statement (PDF), which was published alongside the complaint: “For any product that CPSC considers necessary to return, there must first be lengthy negotiations on the threshold question of whether the sales platform in question is even in compliance with our law.”

According to the CPSC, its current bylaws give it legal authority over importers, distributors and manufacturers, and it now argues that how Amazon handles “Fulfilled by Amazon” products makes it a clear legal distributor.

“We are looking for Amazon to be responsible for Amazon’s products on their site. Amazon does not see itself as legally responsible for these products. We claim that Amazon has a legal responsibility as a distributor for the safety of these products,” CPSC says. Limitand added, “We are eager to work with them on the details of the return.”

Of course, Amazon does not want to be classified as a distributor:

We disagree with the CPSC’s claim that we are a distributor under this Statute, and this view was confirmed by a statement by President Adler. More importantly, Amazon has always believed that we have a responsibility to our customers to provide the safest shopping experience. Therefore, Amazon has communicated to customers and covered the cost of reimbursement when sales partners did not contact regulators regarding recalls. We did this for the products mentioned in the lawsuit and worked with CPSC staff to finalize an agreement that would establish a new standard for the return of third-party products. It is unclear to us why the CPSC Commission rejected this offer, especially as its staff worked hand in hand with us to develop it.

If this is delayed in the courts, the CPSC says it could take several years, compared to an average of 5-7 years for previous forced returns. The first step is to get a way before an administrative court judge (of which, according to CPSC, it does not have its own), after which Amazon may have several opportunities to appeal first to CPSC itself and then to the federal courts.

You can read the full CPSC complaint about Amazon below.

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