Consumer Protection in the Era of Amazon
As you endlessly scroll through Amazon, irresistible low-priced items fill the screen. The app makes it easy to click “add to cart,” and within two days, the product arrives at your front door.
However, not all Amazon sellers are verified, which can leave consumers receiving products that don’t match the description, never receive their item at all, or encounter fraudulent sellers or products, like fake N95 masks.
In the era of Amazon, consumer protection has morphed to provide an extra shield to online customers.
Are Websites Like Amazon Responsible For Fraudulent Sellers On Their Site?
When you type in Amazon.com, it’s easy to think the company claims responsibility for every item it sells. However, thousands of third-party sellers and new court cases have set a precedent that Amazon might not be responsible for everything on its website.
For example, in California, a superior court judge proposed a ruling that would exempt Amazon from the responsibility to ensure that products sold on its website have warnings when those products contain harmful chemicals. The proposed judgment responded to a case challenging Amazon’s sale of skin-lightening creams that contained dangerously high mercury levels. This ruling would allow Amazon to evade a consumer protection law because they are not the primary seller.
This ruling reflects a judicial trend that allows large retail brands such as Amazon to utilize loopholes that will enable them to skirt compliance laws for products sold on their websites by third-party sellers.
Rules like this mean consumers can be left more vulnerable than ever.
How Do I File A Consumer Fraud Complaint?
If you feel you’ve been a victim of consumer fraud, the first step is filing a complaint with the relevant agencies.
When you’ve encountered fraud on the Internet, file a complaint with The National Consumer League’s Fraud Center. This organization works with a network of more than 100 law enforcement partners in the United States and Canada and the Federal Trade Commission.
You can also reach out to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC); however, the FTC usually needs to receive many complaints against a seller to take action.
What Should I Do If I Might Be A Victim Of Consumer Fraud?
If you think you may have been a victim of consumer fraud, contact the Hyland & Padilla legal offices right away for a free consultation. Our team has vast experience fighting for consumers like you and holding fraudulent sellers accountable.
The Federal and State laws are on your side to protect you from fraudulent trade or products. However, even after filing a claim with a Federal agency, the claim alone usually won’t result in you receiving your money back. A lawsuit remains the best way to reach a remedy.
We can help guide you through your case and win damages for products you never received or fake products that caused you harm.