Amazon customers injured by defective third-party products will soon be eligible to receive up to $1,000. The online retail giant recently announced the policy change, and it goes into effect on September 1, 2021. It’s a shift in Amazon’s previous approach to products offered by outside sellers. The company has long argued that it isn’t responsible for injuries caused by third-party merchant sales. In its announcement about the new claims process, Amazon says it is “going far beyond our legal obligations and what any other marketplace service provider is doing today to protect customers.”
Amazon’s third-party marketplace is a huge source of revenue for the company. Millions of independent sellers list products on the platform, and Amazon takes a cut. The problem is that these outside merchants aren’t always fully vetted, and some sell potentially dangerous products. Amazon says it will consider paying more money if a seller isn’t responsive or rejects a valid injury claim, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy to settle a high-priced claim with Amazon. They have repeatedly pushed back against the idea that they are responsible for third-party faulty products to the point that one federal agency took regulatory action earlier this year.
In July, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) sued Amazon in an attempt to force the retailer to recall faulty third-party products that might cause injury or death. The CPSC complaint reveals troubling details about some third-party Amazon purchases. Its complaint includes flammable children’s pajamas that can cause burn injuries, 24,000 carbon monoxide detectors that don’t work, and almost 400,000 hair dryers that could cause shock and electrocution. Amazon notified customers who purchased these products and offered a gift card, but the commission says their actions were insufficient.
Legal Options for Defective Amazon Product Injuries
The update is a step in the right direction. Still, it raises an important question: What should an Amazon shopper do if a defective product causes injury or property damage and $1,000 isn’t enough to cover it? In a perfect scenario, a displeased customer contacts Amazon and gets reimbursed for property damage or injury. But in some cases, the financial damage caused by the product is substantial. The claims process terms page states that Amazon will compensate up to $1 million for defective product injuries to cover:
- medical expenses
- lost wages
- property damage
This is good news for anyone who’s suffered these specific damages, but faulty products can cause other problems that Amazon explicitly states it won’t pay for. These include:
- Non-economic damages
- Business losses
- Consequential and incidental damages
- Attorney fees
- Punitive damages
- Other losses
If you have a minor injury caused by a product purchased on Amazon, their claims process may help you receive the compensation you need. But it’s important to note that filing a claim through Amazon means that you cannot seek an alternative action like court or arbitration until Amazon decides your claim, which can take up to 90 days.
Customers should know that they can still sue Amazon for damages, especially in serious injury cases when the company doesn’t offer the sum they deserve. Herman Herman & Katz has an expert team of attorneys with extensive experience handling defective product cases. Call 844-943-7626 or fill out our case review form to learn more about your legal options.
Mikalia Kott is a dedicated advocate for her clients with extensive experience in successfully litigating large-scale cases.