Amazon Faces Backlash For Selling Thousands Of Unsafe Products

Wall of Amazon packages getting ready to ship out
Leon Neal / Getty Images

Amazon. It’s a name everyone recognizes. It’s a company that has its hooks in all sorts of different industries. And Amazon gift cards? A gift that just about anyone who shops online is happy to receive. Unfortunately, a recent investigation report by The Wall Street Journal — analyzed by Gizmodo — claims customers might not be as safe shopping on Amazon as they think they are.

“Amazon has proven unable or unwilling to effectively police third-party sellers on its site,” the publication reveals.

With over 4,100 products declared unsafe but still listed on their platform, the retail giant reportedly accounts for over 50 percent of the e-commerce market in the United States, according to CNBC. The problem? Amazon’s platform is saturated with products that aren’t even sold by the retail giant.

Amazon is home to thousands of third-party sellers. More often then not, these sellers are virtually anonymous.

To make things worse, The Wall Street Journal’s investigation discovered a sizable chunk of the third-party sellers are utilizing Amazon’s platform to sell dangerous products. They are reportedly getting away with this because the retail giant doesn’t properly police them.

Among these unsafe products are more than 150 different children’s toys, some of which contain terrifying quantities of lead. Roughly 50 percent of these toys – which Amazon claimed to have banned – are reportedly stored within the retail giant’s warehouses to speed up the shipping process by participating in the Prime program.

The problem with purchasing a toy containing lead is a given. There are, however, a lot of risks and dangers associated with purchasing these products that customers are not immediately aware of.

In The Wall Street Journal’s report, they referred to a man named Albert Stokes who passed away after getting in a motorcycle accident with a pickup truck back in 2014. The man was reportedly wearing a “Transportation of Department-certified” motorcycle helmet at the time of the accident. He had purchased the helmet from a third-party seller through Amazon’s platform.

While the helmet has been recalled and the company gave Stokes’ mother a settlement of $5,000 without admitting fault, the product still remains for sale on Amazon.

The publication goes on to explain the reason Amazon is able to get away without suffering any financial liability is because they are an online platform and not a physical store. For as long as Amazon has been around, the retail giant insists it is nothing more than a platform to facilitate transactions between buyers and sellers. Responsibility for the transaction, however, falls squarely on the shoulder of the sellers.

Amazon has penned a blog response to the report.

“We invest significant resources to protect our customers and have built robust programs designed to ensure products offered for sale in our store are safe and compliant,” the retail giant explained.

According to The Guardian, Amazon has responded to the report by removing hundreds of unsafe products from their platform.