Lawmakers call on Amazon to safeguard against unsafe products

Lawmakers call on Amazon to safeguard against unsafe products
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Lawmakers are calling on Amazon to remove unsafe products from its online marketplace and provide new warnings for consumers following a report that thousands of items for sale were deemed unsafe by federal agencies or misleadingly labeled.
In a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosHillicon Valley: Google to limit political ad targeting | Senators scrutinize self-driving car safety | Trump to 'look at' Apple tariff exemption | Progressive lawmakers call for surveillance reforms | House panel advances telecom bills Democrats raise privacy concerns over Amazon home security system Jeff Bezos: I'd 'rather govern than run' MORE on Thursday, Rep. Grace MengGrace MengHillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack Progressives oppose spending stopgap measure over surveillance authority extension Hillicon Valley: Ocasio-Cortez clashes with former Dem senator over gig worker bill | Software engineer indicted over Capital One breach | Lawmakers push Amazon to remove unsafe products MORE (D-N.Y.), a co-chairwoman of the Congressional Kids’ Safety Caucus, highlighted the findings of a Wall Street Journal report last week that concluded 4,152 items for sale on the Amazon Marketplace were considered unsafe, banned or deceptively labeled, including thousands of toys and medications that lacked health safety warnings for children.
In a separate letter on Thursday, Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSenate passes legislation supporting Hong Kong protesters Graham blocks resolution recognizing Armenian genocide after Erdoğan meeting Trump encounters GOP resistance to investigating Hunter Biden MORE (N.J.) and Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeySenators grill safety regulator over self-driving cars Hillicon Valley: Twitter shares more details on political ad rules | Supreme Court takes up Google-Oracle fight | Pentagon chief defends Microsoft cloud contract House, Senate announce agreement on anti-robocall bill MORE (Mass.) wrote to Bezos urging Amazon to “take swift action to provide accurate warnings that protect consumers against these dangerous and deadly products and to stop their wrongful sale.”
Meng asked Bezos to provide information about how Amazon will prevent the sale of recalled products on the Amazon Marketplace and establish ways for customers to understand which products are sold by third-party companies.
"Amazon is a trusted name in the market, and consumers around the world rely on your brand to know that the products they are purchasing are safe. This is doubly true for busy parents who use Amazon to expeditiously order necessities for households in an otherwise chaotic season of life. Busy parents, however, need to be able to rely on the safety of products they buy," Meng wrote in her letter to Bezos.
The Democratic senators, in their letter, asked Bezos for similar information, including how Amazon will identify products that should have proper safety warning labels and adhere to minimum safety requirements. The lawmakers requested a response by Sept. 29.
"We call on you to immediately remove from the platform all the problematic products examined in the recent WSJ report; explain how you are going about this process; conduct a sweeping internal investigation of your enforcement and consumer safety policies; and institute changes that will continue to keep unsafe products off your platform," the senators wrote.
Many of the listings were changed or removed after the Wall Street Journal alerted Amazon.
But the newspaper noted that many of the products it had identified were shipped from Amazon warehouses and had "Amazon's Choice" badges, suggesting they had the platform's endorsement.
Amazon issued a statement in the wake of the report outlining its consumer safety and compliance efforts, including how it vets new seller accounts and reviews products for sale.
"In 2018, our teams and technologies proactively blocked more than three billion suspect listings for various forms of abuse, including non-compliance, before they were published to our store," Amazon said in the statement. "Once a product is available in our store, we continuously scan our product listings and updates to find products that might present a concern."