Generally speaking, everybody in the pipeline that takes a product from the design stage to consumer hands can be held liable for defective, dangerous items that make it onto the market. That includes not just manufacturers but also the retailers who carry these items on their shelves.
So why has Amazon always been an exception? Amazon has long fought product liability claims over everything from fire-prone hoverboards to exploding batteries. The company recently settled one claim after an appellate court reversed the internet giant’s earlier wins in the case.
Amazon has argued that it’s just a platform for exchanges
Essentially, Amazon has always maintained it’s just a platform where buyers and sellers can make exchanges. It presented itself as less a retailer and more like eBay or Etsy.
For a while, that seemed to be almost a magic trick when it came to avoiding legal liability. Ever since the recent appellate ruling (and a shift in public opinion), however, Amazon seems to be trying to do a little damage control.
Amazon announces new policy for defective products
As of September 1 of this year, Amazon will pay customers up to $1,000 in damages for personal injuries or property damage caused by defective products bought through its platform. Amazon claims that $1,000 is enough to cover “more than 80% of cases” where defective products cause harm.
Does this mean that you can’t make a claim for damages above that amount? Absolutely not. In fact, it may be wise to view Amazon’s latest move with a jaded eye. The company may hope that most consumers will take the money they offer and drop any further claims — even if that isn’t in the consumer’s best interests.
If you’ve been injured by a defective product, don’t toss away your rights without fully exploring all of the options available to you.