Who Will Police Dodgy Products Being Sold Via Amazon Marketplace?
Retailers in Australia are asking who will police Companies selling questionable products on Amazon Australia’s Marketplace website when it launches this week.
A senior Harvey Norman executive who refused to be named told ChannelNews that they were aware that several Companies who sell products that don’t comply with Australian Product Safety laws are set to sell products in the Amazon Marketplace.
These Companies are already selling products into overseas markets they claim.
They claim that electrical goods chargers and appliances are products that consumers should check to see if they comply with Australian safety standards prior to buying online via Amazon.
In the USA a row broke out yesterday, after it was revealed that Amazon is promoting dubious health products, including some that have been criticized by regulators and may even be illegal.
Current health offerings, replete with literal “snake oil,” a term that refers to fake medical products are available via the Amazon Marketplace.
Some observers claim that online retailer’s plans to enter the pharmacy market could be bought into question by the ranging of what has been deemed “Questionable” products.
These products include dietary supplements claiming to help with opiate withdrawal and relieve pain, although it’s illegal to market supplements as treatments or cures. And, until recently, Amazon sold at least one medical device without Food and Drug Administration oversight and products the FDA has explicitly warned against.
“Honestly, if Amazon wants to get into this business they should clean up their own house first,” said Nicodemo Fiorentino, a pharmaceutical and medical device regulatory expert, adding that consumers “do not understand the complexities of drugs and devices” and could be misled by offerings.
Concerns about “dangerously misleading” health products being sold on Amazon have been raised before, including in a report from the U.K. newspaper the Sun last year that charged the online retailer was “peddling bogus miracle cancer cures.” A subsequent report by Vox found that those products were also available in the U.S. — and many are still available to this day.
Amazon also sold — until MarketWatch brought it to the company’s attention — at least one medical device that didn’t appear to be registered with the FDA, a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation unit, which is used to relieve pain, and ear candles, which the FDA has warned about.
In some cases, devices sold by Amazon improperly include the FDA logo or falsely claim to have FDA approval.
In the UK where Amazon has been trading for some time, one in six Brits claim that they ended up buying a dodgy FAKE electrical item as a Christmas present – even though they’re at risk of catching fire or exploding several of those products were purchased via the Amazon website.
A recent research study in the UK revealed that most Amazon shoppers couldn’t tell the difference between a real electrical product and a fake one.
A silver Nutribullet was revealed as not being genuine because the advertised model never came in silver.
Electrical Safety executives in the UK found that some fake Nutribullets can explode.
Electrical Safety First examined a random selection of popular electrical accessories such as chargers, power banks and adaptors, purchased through online marketplaces.
UK Shopper Lucy Dibdin bought a Herstyler hair straightener at an online marketplace three years ago for a fraction of the advertised price in her local shopping centre.
She had no issues with the item until a few weeks ago – when she plugged it in and heard a strange crackling noise before it burst into flames in her hands.
Lucy said: “It never occurred to me to check if it was genuine, as I presumed everything on Amazon was safe.
“I picked it up but dropped it immediately when flames erupted from both sides. Luckily didn’t injure myself or get electrocuted but I was left with a tingling in my arm for about 20 minutes. Since this terrifying experience, I make sure I only buy electrical products from trusted retailers. Given what I know now I strongly expect the product was a fake. I would not buy online again.”