A Holiday Message from ELEDLights
If you’ve been feeling like items you’re purchasing from Amazon are of increasingly poorer quality, you’re probably not imagining it. Frauds, counterfeits, unsafe products, and inauthentic reviews have turned the shopping site into a minefield for consumers who have become used to the store’s wide selection, competitive prices, and easy ordering.
Over a period of just three months this summer, Wall Street Journal reporters uncovered nearly 11,000 items for sale on Amazon that were unsafe, deceptively labeled, lacking required warnings, or had been banned by federal regulators.
Amazon’s third-party marketplace is increasingly becoming a consumer risk, particularly when it comes to products that require electrical power, are intended for children and infants, or will be ingested or applied to skin.
Here’s why this is happening:
- Amazon aggressively recruits third-party sellers, but it does not vet them
- Some of the company’s most aggressive recruiting takes place in China, where safety standards and best practices don’t meet U.S. standards
- Unlike reputable U.S.-based importers, whose business models depend on safe, reliable, and quality products, Amazon does not test the imported products sold through its marketplace
- Nor does it require sellers to do this testing and prove compliance with U.S. safety regulations
- Nor does it pro-actively enforce U.S. safety standards; it relies instead on investigation and reporting undertaken by competing sellers—at their own expense—after the products are have already been made available for sale to millions of consumers
- The company itself admits it may be entirely unable to prevent sellers from selling “unlawful, counterfeit, pirated, or stolen goods” (Amazon’s February 2019 Annual Report)
- Indeed, doing so reduces product selection on their site, which runs counter to their very business model
- The company then makes it difficult for consumers to make informed decisions about their purchases by imposing no requirement on third-party sellers to disclose their location
- Additionally, third-party sellers can have their products ship from Amazon warehouses in Amazon-smile boxes, giving products an additional air of legitimacy
- Finally, if you suffer damages from a defective, unsafe, or fraudulent product, don't look to Amazon for redress: the company insists it has no legal responsibility for products purchased on its marketplace
- Good luck suing a Chinese seller yourself
The ELEDLIGHTS team wishes our customers safe shopping this holiday season. Please keep in mind that products that use electricity—like new lighting—can put life and property at risk if no one's making sure that the products meet safety and quality standards.
For any product—lighting related or otherwise—that could put you, your loved ones, or your property at risk, please purchase from companies that:
- Take safety standards seriously
- Quality-test their products
- Hold themselves accountable to their customers
And yeah, of course we have a vested interest in telling you to buy lights from us rather than Amazon. But also, we care. So, if you don’t buy your lights from us, please buy them from one of our reputable competitors — not from an unknown seller from an undisclosed location who may have stolen those photos, be lying about that UL listing, and have paid for those "5 star" Amazon reviews.
May your holidays be safe and bright.
Henry Mann & the entire team at ELEDLIGHTS.com
More information on this issue can be found at "Amazon’s Heavy Recruitment of Chinese Sellers Puts Consumers at Risk," published in the Wall Street Journal, Nov 11, 2019