CNN published an explosive report last week about dangerous AmazonBasics products. Now, three US senators are trying to get the retail giant to take action.
AmazonBasics has been around for over ten years. The online retailer sells a variety of home electronics, accessories, and small appliances in this line. While the products aren’t actually manufactured by Amazon, they are packaged and sold with the company’s branding.
Amazon promotes their own products to the top of the search results, and they are often bestsellers on the platform.
These products, which include charging cables, power strips, and batteries, are usually cheaper than name brands. But is the company cutting costs at the expense of safety?
According to CNN, at least 1500 reviews of these products from 2016-2020 included mentions of the words “fire,” “dangerous,” or “burn.” 200 reviews showed evidence that AmazonBasics products had caught fire and caused property damage.
CNN collected the stories of customers who reviewed the faulty products, and the list is terrifying. From an exploding battery that turned into a chemical bomb to a surge protector that spewed fire like a blowtorch, these were no minor malfunctions.
Many of the complaints contain serious allegations. Some customers claim that the devices caught on fire or began smoking the first time they were plugged in. Some even malfunctioned while not in use, such as a paper shredder that turned itself on according to multiple complaints.
The journalists acquired two of the faulty products and took them to an independent lab for testing. In the case of a microwave that had caught on fire, the researchers found that a design flaw could easily cause sparks and smoke.
Following CNN’s report, three senators are calling for Amazon to issue recalls. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), and Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) published an open letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
The letter states that these faulty products “continue to pose an ongoing threat to consumers that have already purchased these products until they are recalled.”
Amazon did not directly reply, but the company claims that safety is one of their highest priorities at the company.
“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.
Meanwhile, CNN claims that Amazon has been quietly removing some of the items in question from their online storefront.