CPSC Federal Safety Regulators are investigating Potentially Dangerous AmazonBasics Electronics Products
WASHINGTON, D.C. – An investigative news report published on CNN.com states that the Consumer Product Safety Commission has launched an investigation into the potentially dangerous “Amazon-branded” electronic products that CNN reported in 2020. In last year’s CNN investigation, several Amazon Basic’s electronic consumer electronics products had dangerous, unreported defects causing some of those products to “melt, explode or burst into flames.” CNN’s initial investigative report published on September 10, 2020, listed several dozens of potentially dangerous AmazonBasics consumer electronics products. These products are still available for purchase on Amazon.com even though several purchasers are reporting that some of those electronics products had “exploded, melted, or burst into flames.” Lawmakers promptly directed Amazon to “investigate and recall any electronics posing dangers to customers.” However, the safety advocates, news investigators, and product liability attorneys with Parker Waichman LLP are investigating fire and explosion cases involving AmazonBasics consumer electronics products.
If you have purchased a product that has caught on fire under normal use resulting in severe burn injuries, loss of life, significant property damage, or a house fire, contact Parker Waichman LLP to tell us about your situation. Parker Waichman LLP is a national firm that works hard to obtain monetary compensation for those harmed by defective products and negligence. If you or someone you care about suffered harm, losses, or damages due to a potentially defective product, call Parker Waichman LLP at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) and ask for your free case review. Our phone lines are open 24 hours, 7 days a week, to take your call.
AmazonBasics USB Cord Blamed in Severe Burn Injury Case
Fire Marshal Determines Defective AmazonBasics USB Cord Overheated, Caught Fire, and Ignited Office Chair Upholstery Causing Severe Burn Injuries to Man Who Was Sleeping
WETHERSFIELD, CONNECTICUT – On January 12, 2017, Wethersfield firefighters found the charred remains of an office chair. The victim, a 20-year-old man, was taken to a local area hospital for severe burn injuries. According to the young man’s mother, the victim’s office chair “caught on fire while he was sleeping, and he was burned as he carried the flaming chair outside.”
Wethersfield Fire Marshal Anthony Dignoti, who was in charge of investigating the fire, noted that the door and door frame sustained fire damage as well. Fire Marshal Dignoti also noted that there were bowls scattered around the area of the fire, which he recorded in his final, official fire incident report. In the report, the bowls were “filled with water in an attempt to extinguish the fire.” Fire Marshal Dignoti determined the cause of the fire “originated with an AmazonBasics USB cord.” In his report, part of the white AmazonBasics USB cord was “hanging off the chair and still intact, but the other side was stuck to the seat and had melted into a bare wire.” The Wethersfield Fire Marshal ultimately ascertained that the house fire originated with the white AmazonBasics USB cord the victim used to charge a cellphone. His fire report asserted the AmazonBasics USB cord short-circuited, and “the heat produced by the cord ignited the upholstery for the office chair.”
The victim from Connecticut sued Amazon back in 2019, and his case was settled. The victim’s lawsuit stated that he sustained second-degree burns and suffered smoke inhalation injuries to his throat.
AmazonBasics Has Received 1,000s of Product Complaints
AmazonBasics, which is one of Amazon’s private-label brands, offers low-cost products such as household appliances, office accessories, consumer electronics, and home goods. In the past several months, Amazon.com’s sales have climbed as millions of Americans have been working at home during the coronavirus pandemic. However, thousands of AmazonBasics customers have been raising grave safety concerns and have been filing complaints with government regulators concerning defective AmazonBasics products. Other consumers have posted their concerns and issues in the product reviews on Amazon.com. CNN states that since 2016, more than 1,500 negative reviews concerning more than 70 items have exploded, caught on fire, melted, smoked, malfunctioned, or caused dangerous fire risks. The negative reviews on Amazon.com only represent a small number of the overall purchases of these products and the fires that these potentially defective consumer electronics may have caused.
Electrical engineers surveyed by CNN stated that there might be other potential factors such as user error, faulty or aging wiring in a home, or recharging a defective device or battery. However, the electrical engineers stated that well-made products that purchasers properly use should rarely pose dangers, said electrical engineers surveyed by CNN.
According to the recent CNN report, dozens of AmazonBasics products have been flagged as dangerous, and many of those products are still available for purchase on Amazon.com. For example, there are approximately 1,500 reviews that several purchasers called a “hazard,” caused a “fire,” or state that the products need to be recalled. Approximately 30 AmazonBasics products with three or more reviews reporting fire hazards are available for purchase on Amazon.com today. Amazon confirmed that eight or more of those products were under investigation but stated the company concluded those products met all of its safety standards.
Many consumers stated to CNN that they trust AmazonBasics, and they expected their purchases would be well made and safe since the products had the Amazon brand name and are often touted as “Amazon’s Choice.” Tragically, as complaints increased, Amazon allegedly provided little or no information to the public about how the company is managing the allegations that some of their merchandise is not safe.
According to one review written and posted about a particular AmazonBasics surge protector that has several consumer safety complaints and negative reviews, a customer purchases a surge protector. When the customer turned on the surge protector, it became a “blowtorch” and shot flames out of the surge protector.
One AmazonBasics phone charger received complaints of severe burn injuries to users’ legs and hands.
One AmazonBasics product contained exploding batteries that allegedly sprayed chemicals in one user’s face.
An AmazonBasics microwave allegedly caught on fire while heating up a macaroni and cheese cup. The customer stated that she had to take the microwave outside and spray the microwave with a hose to put out the fire.
These complaints were also “verified purchases,” which means Amazon confirmed the review writer purchased the product they were reviewing. There have been more than 150 reviews concerning smoke and fire issues with the AmazonBasics microwave.
Several reviews were accompanied by photographs taken of the burned products.
Former Amazon employees stated only a few reviews stating words such as “fire” or “hazard” should automatically provoke Amazon to take action. Amazon noted that some products might be temporarily removed pending an investigation. When an investigation reveals a “potential, non-isolated safety issue,” the company then takes appropriate steps to inform the government and issue a “safely recall the product.”
Three additional former Amazon employees stated that the majority of AmazonBasics consumer electronic products are made in Asia. They also revealed that about 10% are made in the United States, while nearly half are manufactured in China. Amazon usually brings AmazonBasics items to market by working with manufacturers to create the products for the AmazonBasics line, or Amazon chooses an outside manufacturer to brand some of their products with the AmazonBasics brand name. Amazon often has little insight into the manufacturing process and is not involved in all quality and safety testing when the company doesn’t develop a product with a manufacturer. Amazon has disputed this, stating that it verifies that its products meet the same safety standards, and the company often works directly with outside manufacturers.
Businesses are compelled by law to promptly report all “potentially hazardous” items to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC then determines if an official recall is required. Companies may also initiate a voluntary recall in cooperation with the CPSC.
The CPSC stated that it is prohibited by law from talking about any item that has not been recalled. The CPSC issues a recall based on several factors, including “the nature of the defect, the level of hazard associated with the issue, and the pattern of similar problems (seen).”
The CPSC would not state how many AmazonBasics products are currently under review or what safety concerns are being investigated. It also rejected CNN’s request for records about the AmazonBasics products, citing the pending investigations.
Amazon failed to comment about the CPSC investigations, only saying that the company evaluates every safety concern report and they take the proper action. The company also stated that none of the consumer products highlighted in CNN’s investigation have been discontinued or recalled for safety reasons.
CONTACT PARKER WAICHMAN LLP FOR A FREE CASE REVIEW
Did you or a family member suffer harm due to a defective product? Parker Waichman LLP helps families recover monetary compensation after suffering injuries, losing a loved one, or sustaining severe property damage due to a dangerous product. For your free consultation, contact our law firm today by using our live chat or calling 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
New York | Brooklyn | Queens | Long Island | New Jersey | Florida
Call us at: 1-800-YOURLAWYER (800-968-7529) | Schedule your free consultation