Amazon could be committing “widespread deception” by selling thousands of products without any warnings despite certain goods having been deemed unsafe, according to a top consumer protection regulator.
“This article raises real concerns about whether Amazon is profiting from widespread deception on its platform,” Federal Trade Commissioner (FTC) Rohit Chopra tweeted, referring to a Wall Street journal piece. “Deceptive acts or practices can threaten our health and safety and are unlawful under the FTC Act.”
Chopra’s comments came after a Journal investigation found 4,152 unsafe items listed for sale on Amazon. After The Journal made the Seattle tech giant aware of the safety issues, Amazon removed many of the items.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., called for “swift action” following the report.
“Amazon’s failure to remove illegal, deadly and deceptive products from their site threatens consumer safety,” Blumenthal tweeted. “They must prioritize safety over profit.”
Amazon responded to The Journal’s story in a blog post explaining how the tech giant, which is led by Jeff Bezos, checks the enormous number of products on its platform.
“We invest significant resources to protect our customers and have built robust programs designed to ensure products offered for sale in our store are safe and compliant,” the company wrote in its post.
Nonetheless, some experts say Amazon helped to create the problem it’s now facing, by making it relatively easy for sellers to market goods on its site.
“In many ways, Amazon has built themselves into a corner,” Juozas Kaziukenas, chief executive of Marketplace Plus, a business intelligence firm focused on e-commerce, told The Washington Post. “The building blocks of Amazon prevents them from fixing it.”
Still, the company pushed back on the notion that it is sacrificing safety for consumer convenience.
Amazon has long aimed to provide the widest selection of goods at the lowest prices with rapid delivery, “but not at the expense of our customers’ safety, and this insinuation is simply wrong,” spokesperson Cecilia Fan told The Post.
When reached by Fox News, Amazon declined to comment beyond its blog post.