Appeals court says Amazon can be held liable for defective third-party products


Posts: 31   +23
I'm old enough to remember when Australia brought our consumer laws up to speed. The most obvious change was a healthy improvement in the quality of consumer goods. Prices barely rose as "the market" did what it's supposed to do (for a change!) and leveled the increase through competition.

In Oz manufacturer warranties have no legal power what-so-ever. Consumer Affairs decides what is a reasonable period the goods should last (e.g. five years for most electronics, longer for the more expensive items as the higher price implies higher quality) and you have the choice of replacement or refund. This applies to product recalls as well.
Consumers provide the money that powers commerce, and should have full assurance when they buy a product it is of good quality and value. Let me ask you all - why should you have to stuff around because you were sold a lemon? How many of you have the money to sue a large manufacturer for faulty goods? Not a problem if you have proper consumer laws!

Cubi Dorf

Posts: 245   +121
I would agreeing with, however... it not possible to tracking down Chinese counterfeiters. Probably not going to get anything from them. So if Amazon allow this on their store, maybe they are should be responsible?

This will not stand! It's ridiculous to expect the seller of a product to pay for damages caused by an obvious manufacture defect. The manufacturer is the only one who in the end should be held responsible.


Posts: 2,060   +850
I would agreeing with, however... it not possible to tracking down Chinese counterfeiters. Probably not going to get anything from them. So if Amazon allow this on their store, maybe they are should be responsible?
Absolutely, Amazon should not allow these dodgy seller to even sell products on their online market place to begin with. To a degree it's quality control, if Amazon can't put the slightest effort into assuring the quality of products it's willing to allow sold then it should be held accountable.

At minimum Amazon should assist in seeking damages and compensation from the 3rd party seller in such an incidence as again, they stored the product, processed the transaction and shipped it to the consumer.
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Posts: 41   +58
Under U.S. law, resellers are liable for defective products. (In fact, in the past, the rule was that the buyer could ONLY sue the reseller because he had not entered into any agreement with the manufacturer.)

On the other hand, if you deal with a service provider, e.g., someone who orders a computer for you from Lenovo and sets it up for you, he is responsible only for the quality of his services and you deal with Lenovo as to any problems with the product.

Here, I think the Court of Appeals is correct. Amazon's only "services" in the transaction were of the sort that resellers normally provide: acquire the product from the manufacturer, advertise it for sale, collect the purchase price, and deliver the product to the purchaser.

The decision is in consistent with most consumers' reasonable expectations. Amazon has earned a well-deserved reputation for reliability. People rely on that reputation and Amazon does nothing to advise people that it will treat sales of 3d party merchandise on its website differently than it treats sales of products it has purchased. In fact, Amazon makes the purchase experience almost indistinguishable between the two circumstances.The website does say when the purchase is on behalf of a 3d party, but it does NOT say that Amazon will provide no help in such cases.

Holding Amazon liable makes the sales and distribution work most efficiently. Amazon, as a large purchaser, is in a much better position than an individual consumer to hold the manufacturer accountable and to negotiate in advance an efficient way of dealing with defective products

The adverse decision will benefit Amazon and other on-line sellers in the long run because consumers will be more likely to buy 3d party owned products from Amazon a if they know they know that they can get redress from Amazon if there is a problem with the product. That will make people more likely to order such products from Amazon than from sites such as eBay which are clearly just agents, rather than resellers, and will provide no redress in case of collateral damage such as a home catching fire from a defective product.


Posts: 455   +355
If I buy a product from Amazon, they have to take responsibility about product quality.
This could force Amazon to better check the quality of products they are selling on their platform. I would prefer a smaller store with better products.
That isn't what the article is about. A lot of items on are shipped and sold by third parties. It is like going to a Mall buying something from a store that hurts you in someway. Instead of suing the store you sue the Mall Owner.