Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is once again in hot water for listing products that are either banned or unsafe by investigators.
It has been found that about 4,000 of the items listed for sale on the Amazon website either are not labelled properly or are banned or are declared unsafe for use according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.
These listed items tagged with “FDA approved”, weren’t vetted by the FDA in the first place. Other items in question include medicines without warnings regarding child safety, toys with excess amounts of lead in them, banned sleeping wedges for babies and illegally imported prescription drugs. What’s worse is the fact that some of these items were listed as “Amazon’s choice”.
Can Amazon be held responsible for something like this? Let us look at it in a little more detail.
A Victim of Its Own Success?
The gigantic proportions of Amazon’s success in the present day are common knowledge to everyone right now. To put things into perspective, Jeff Bezos is now the richest man, not just in the world, but in modern history. His estimated net worth of $156 billion in December 2018 made him the first person to be worth over $100 billion. And all of this has mostly been because of Amazon. The massive amounts of listings that the e-commerce site receives on a daily basis makes it impossible for them to monitor all the items being listed, despite the repeated number of human and machine learning checks put in place to avoid it.
Moreover, it is incredibly hard for a user to know who the actual seller is. Only a single line of text, “Sold by Amazon.com”, is used to distinguish between Amazon products and products by third-party sellers. How it matters lies in the fact that Amazon isn’t legally responsible for the discrepancies and complaints in the items sold by third-party sellers. The consumers will have to pick up the matter with the sellers themselves.
This, however, is not the first time when such an incident is recorded. In the past, almost every leading eCommerce giant in the world has been through to it. A few years ago Alibaba sued its sellers for listing counterfeit products that caused a ban on Alibab in the US. In April this year, the coughed up $250 million in order to settle a lawsuit related to counterfeit products.
This is not the first time when Amazon is accused of selling counterfeit products and giving fake five-star reviews. For the last few years, multiple lawsuits are filed against Amazon accusing it to taking very little or almost no action against sellers listing counterfeit products.
However, ever since this topic has been brought up with Amazon authorities, there has been action taken. 57% of the items in question have either been taken down or have had their wordings changed. Amazon even responded to the issue through a blog post. There, they mentioned that out of all the items listed in 2018, about 3 billion suspect listings were blocked on various grounds, ranging from various forms of abuse to incompliance.