Ordinary rules protecting Amazon from the same liabilities as brick-and-mortar stores are looking to change. A recent Federal appeals court ruling in Pennsylvania stated that Amazon can be held responsible for products sold by third-party sellers.
When people are injured by defective consumer products, it can be difficult to determine liability if the item was sold by a third-party seller. This is especially the case if the seller isn’t based in the US.
So what could this mean for consumers?
Court Sides with Consumers
The Federal appeals court’s decision in Pennsylvania could spell the end of Amazon’s usual defense that it’s not responsible for the integrity of items sold by third-party sellers.
In the past, courts across America have traditionally sided with Amazon’s argument that it’s not liable for these products. When a third-party seller cannot be located, this usually means someone who has been injured by a defective product has no legal recourse.
But this could open up Amazon, which generated $160 billion in sales in 2018, to a string of lawsuits.
What is Amazon’s Position on Defective Products?
Davis, Saperstein & Salomon P.C., a law firm named one of the best workplaces in America, say that Amazon follows the defense of most platforms dealing with third-party sellers.
They claim in their policies on the Amazon website that they don’t take any responsibility for any injury caused by a product sold by a third-party seller.
At first glance, it would make sense, say Davis, Saperstein & Salomon P.C. How can a company like Amazon possibly check the integrity of third-party sellers they have no control over?
But therein lies the problem. If Amazon doesn’t carry out checks on who sells on the platform, it opens up consumers to serious injury.
The latest ruling from Pennsylvania would indicate that Amazon has a responsibility to better manage the sellers on its platform.
What Does This Mean for Consumers?
Consumers should take note that this loophole in the law is finally being addressed. However, a single court ruling in one state doesn’t indicate that Amazon must take responsibility for third-party sellers.
Legal experts expect the process to take years, with millions of dollars being poured into legal fights by Amazon.
Amazon is just the tip of the iceberg. A major change in the law wouldn’t only impact Amazon but all platforms allowing third-party sellers in the US. Consumers also shouldn’t expect these rulings to apply to any of the non-US based Amazon sites and other retailers internationally.
Consumers Must Act if They’re Injured
Consumers are often unaware of the risks associated with purchasing from third-party sellers on Amazon.
If you find yourself injured by a defective product, you should call a personal injury attorney immediately.
With the latest court ruling, both the third-party seller and Amazon could be found personally liable. It’s important you get the justice you deserve, as well as compensation to help you cover your medical bills and recover from your injuries.
Have you received a defective consumer product through a purchase on Amazon?