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Posted: 2020-08-30 16:56:06

Amazon can be liable for third-party sellers’ defective products, appeals court rules

From Kim Lyons at The Verge
Originally published 2020 08 30
Amazon can be held liable for defective products sold on its Marketplace in California, an appeals court ruled Thursday, which suggests that if you buy a defective third-party product on Amazon, it might be Amazon that’s responsible. The California Fourth District Court of Appeals reversed a 2019 trial court ruling and reinstated claims from a woman who says she suffered third-degree burns when a defective laptop battery she bought from a third-party seller on Amazon caught fire.
The decision could have dire repercussions for Amazon, which has argued for years that it only serves as an intermediary between buyers and its third-party sellers, which Amazon collectively refers to as the “Amazon Marketplace” even though it’s not a distinct place on Amazon. (Third-party sellers appear in normal Amazon listings, with only a small line of text to indicate that the actual seller isn’t Amazon itself.) That stance has protected Amazon from liability for Marketplace products, that is, until now. The company is now facing several other lawsuits over defective products in other courts.
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