For a lot of people, purchasing a product on Amazon instead of in a store is second nature. In these busy times, it’s often much easier to “shop and click” at home in your pajamas instead of getting dressed and heading out to the store. Plus, returns are pretty easy and most Americans feel familiar with the industry giant, which makes it comfortable to use them for purchases.
Well, think carefully about what you decide to purchase from Amazon. Over the last few years, Amazon customers (or their insurance companies) have tried to hold the retail giant accountable for numerous dangerous and defective products purchased through their site, from hoverboards that have exploded during charging and hair dryers that were so poorly made that they caught fire the first time they were used.
So far, there’s been little success. Amazon has firmly maintained that, for most items, it is merely an electronic platform that puts sellers and buyers in touch with each other. Even when it handles the shipment and fulfillment of an order, Amazon denies being an actual retailer. If it were an ordinary retail establishment, like Walmart or Target, it would be liable for the dangerous and defective products it sells.
This is particularly problematic because many of the sellers using Amazon are overseas manufacturers — and they will often dissolve overnight (to reappear under new names later) when there’s a problem with their products. The quality of many of those products can be questionable, at best, but victims of their defective products are often left without anybody to sue.
There are signs that the legal protections Amazon’s been able to use are failing, however. More courts are taking a closer look at the industry and individual case law is starting to chip away at the immunity Amazon’s managed to craft for itself.
If you’ve been the victim of a defective, dangerous product you bought online and you’ve suffered significant injuries and losses, find out what can be done to help you. Keep in mind that the law is constantly in flux — and every case is unique.