Court Rules Amazon Can Be Held Liable for Defective Product

Amazon has earned a reputation as being a one-stop-shop for most online shopping teams. While many of the products sold through the retail giant’s website come from its warehouses, many others are sold from third-party sellers. In its third-party platform for selling, known as Marketplace, Amazon takes a cut of the profits for any items sold through it.

In some instances, Amazon will hold items for sellers and ship them once sold. In other cases, sellers are responsible for shipping their items. Whether they’re a toothbrush or a new television, Amazon Marketplace items have one thing in common: Amazon doesn't officially sell them. So, what happens when defective products sold by third parties through Amazon injure consumers?

A Federal Court Recently Found Amazon Liable for Defective Items from Third Parties

In 2014, a woman ordered a dog collar from Amazon’s Marketplace through a third-party seller. While walking her dog, the collar broke, causing her dog’s leash to hit her in one eye. The incident rendered her permanently blind in that eye. While the third-party seller couldn’t be located, the woman sued Amazon for negligence.

A court in Pennsylvania ruled that Amazon wasn’t liable since it wasn’t the actual seller of the collar. Specifically, it cited a law that provides protections to owners of online platforms from how people using them behave. However, the woman successfully appealed the Pennsylvania court’s ruling. In its decision, the court found that Amazon was liable for negligence because of its role in the collar’s sale. It ruled that the previously cited law only protected Amazon from the speech of users on its platforms.

What Does This Mean for Consumers?

This ruling is important for consumers because it provides accountability for Amazon. As the most popular online retailer in the world, Amazon must protect its customers from the products it sells, whether it sells them “officially” or not. Importantly, it’s important to remember to exercise caution when buying any item from Amazon. If you’d like to avoid third-party sellers, verify that the product is labeled as sold by Amazon beneath its title. If purchasing a product sold by a third party, cautiously read the reviews—both positive and negative—for any potential problems.

Injured by a Product Sold on Amazon? Call HRR Now!

At Handler, Henning & Rosenberg, we’ve spent decades fighting for the recovery of those injured by the negligence of others, including large companies. If you’ve suffered because of an injury caused by a defective product sold through Amazon, call us right now. Consultation with a member of our team is completely free, and we never collect a fee unless we win results in your case.

Call right now, a member of our team is standing by at (888) 498-3023 to answer your call 24/7 and provide a free consultation. Our product liability lawyers are ready to help you explore your options.