An investigation by CNN found at least 1,500 safety complaints involving 70 electronic products that are sold by Amazon under the AmazonBasics brand, including nearly 200 reports involving property damage.
The products include microwaves, USB cords, phone chargers, surge protectors, paper shredders, and more. Around 30 of them are still fore sale on Amazon’s website, despite complaints of safety hazards.
In response, Amazon published a blog post to try to reassure consumers. In the post, Amazon said they had only recalled two AmazonBasics products since 2009.
However, the lack of recalls may actually be a sign that Amazon is not adequately responding to serious safety issues, according to CNN.
One example is an AmazonBasics surge protector that burst into flames while it was plugged in but not being used, according to a customer. Amazon continued to sell the surge protector for nearly 2 years, even as another 40 reviews reporting safety issues piled up.
Another example is a voice-activated AmazonBasics microwave. Since its introduction in late 2018, it has received over 150 reviews describing serious problems, including sparks, smoke, and fires.
Amazon shoppers have also reported frightening malfunctions, including a father who said his AmazonBasics surge protector overheated and turned into a “blowtorch” with flames shooting out.
Lawsuits have also been filed by unhappy consumers. In January 2017, Austin Parra was using an AmazonBasics Apple Certified Lightning-to-USB charging cord at his apartment. Unfortunately, it overheated and ignited the fabric on his chair.
Parra suffered 2nd-degree burns, throat injuries from smoke inhalation, and was hospitalized for a day. He filed a lawsuit in 2019, and the case ended in Amazon paying him a settlement.
Parra’s USB cord was eventually pulled off Amazon’s website, but CNN found that it was still for sale until at least June 2017 — and there were several complaints of fires for at least a year before.
One user wrote in May 2016: “DO NOT BUY! FIRE HAZARD!” Another user wrote in June 2016: “End of the cable melted and started smoking. Glad we caught it before a fire.”
In fact, CNN found at least 30 products with at least 3 reviews involving fire hazards were still for sale when the report was published on September 10, despite Amazon being notified of the problem.