Dozens of Amazon Basics products could pose a safety risk, report says

Daniel Fowler
September 13, 2020

It notes that since 2016, some 1,500 reviews across 70 AmazonBasics products have mentioned items have exploded, caught fire, smoked, melted or seen electrical malfunctions, among other risks.

Such is probably the case with AmazonBasics 6-Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip, 790 Joule, which picked up more than 19,000 ratings, 84 percent of which were five stars. The reviews covered more than 70 items and described horrifying scenes of batteries exploding, vehicle chargers sparking electrical fires, and in at least one case, a paper shredder mysteriously turning itself on and blowing up in a "fireball".

CNN reporters identified more than 1,500 reviews about AmazonBasics electronics and appliances from USA customers since 2016 that complained about the products bursting into flames, melting, causing electrical malfunctions, and other safety-related issues.

"We partner only with suppliers who meet our supply chain standards, and those suppliers undergo additional vetting by Amazon through a series of manufacturing and quality audits, including reviewing factory quality management systems and product quality controls", the company said Thursday. But for some products the problems were widespread enough that they were reported by dozens of people who bought the same item. Additionally, Amazon has previously recalled two AmazonBasics items - a power bank and a space heater after receiving 53 reports on the power banks overheating and 25 regarding versions of the space heater overheating, sparking or burning. Though the USB cord was damaged too extensively to allow researchers to assess defects, tests at the University of Maryland's Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering found that turning on the microwave sparked and smoked, and that the panel covering the heating device was secured in a way that "could allow debris such as food or grease to collect behind it and possibly ignite".

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"We are shocked and appalled that Amazon has again failed to prevent the sale of risky products", they wrote Friday, "this time as the manufacturer of the AmazonBasics brand bearing full responsibility".

In response to CNN's reporting, Amazon issued a statement via a blog post addressing AmazonBasics safety concerns. "The appliance continues to meet or exceed all certification requirements established by the FDA, UL, FCC, Prop 65, and others for safety and functionality", the spokesperson said.

Many AmazonBasics products that have been reported as fire hazards are still for sale on Amazon, according to an extensive investigation by CNN.

According to a new report from CNN, these products might have a major issue-safety.

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