Chanfrau & Chanfrau

Do Online Merchants Meet U.S. Safety Standards?

By William Chanfrau, Jr. on January 23, 2020

Toy construction vehicles spelling "safety" with building blocksWhen a defective product harms you or a loved one, the Daytona Beach and Palm Coast, FL product liability attorneys at Chanfrau & Chanfrau can help. Our law firm can hold the negligent designer, manufacturer, and/or distributor of the product accountable for the harm that they caused. This includes online distributors, which is important given the modern realities of e-commerce and online shopping.

Whenever we buy something online, we assume it’s safe. Yet as you’re about to learn, not all online products or merchants abide by current safety standards. Let’s explore this alarming issue below.

Safety Needs to Be a Concern in E-Commerce Sales

One would expect that the same standards that apply to objects purchased in a brick and mortar store apply to goods sold online.

Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

Just because something is listed on Amazon or other trusted online retailers doesn’t necessarily mean it complies with current U.S. safety standards.

Alarming Information on Product Safety from CBS News

In a report from CBS This Morning, four products were purchased through third-party sellers on Amazon. These products were taken to a lab to check safety standards. All four failed.

The products were as follows:

  • A wooden jigsaw puzzle marketed for infants had pieces small enough to pose a choking hazard
  • Small toy trucks broke during the testing process, creating sharp, harmful edges
  • LED rings with flashing lights wound up breaking, exposing the battery component which could be harmful
  • A brand of magnetic putty came with a powerful magnet that is much stronger than current safety standards allow

Four defective products is just a fraction of a fraction of a percent of all the consumer goods that are available on Amazon alone. Think about all the other hazards out there while purchasing products online.

Dangers to Children from Unsafe Toys

Many of us buy toys for children online since the selection is better than most toy stores. It’s important that you check safety reports on any product you intend to buy online just to ensure they will not harm your child.

Dangers from Other Kinds of Goods

While the CBS report mainly focused on toys, keep in mind that all sorts of consumer goods could be hazardous in their own ways. A faulty space heater could cause fires, or televisions may have an increased risk of electric shock.

Beware of Dangerous Knock-Off Products Online

The CBS report notes that a number of dangerous products are just knock-off versions of more popular goods that passed safety tests just fine. These copies do not undergo the same testing and safety standards as the original version of the product.

Be careful of knock-off while shopping online. Try to read customer reviews and do your research.

Only Purchase Goods from Trusted Online Retailers

In addition to being cautious of knock-offs, try to shop for items from reputable e-commerce sites.

While items slip through the cracks, places like Amazon and the official stores for well-known retailers/brands tend to have higher standards for what is sold. Unknown brands or stores may not have the same standards or scruples about what they sell.

Contact Chanfrau & Chanfrau

If you would like more information about product safety standards and how produce manufacturers and retailers can be held accountable, contact our team of product liability attorneys. You can reach our lawyers by phone in Daytona Beach by calling (866) 610-0653 and in Palm Coast by calling (386) 439-7760.

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