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AMAZON’S HOLIDAY TOY CATALOG WHITEWASHES HAZARDOUS AND FAKE PRODUCTS
 
FFMI Issues PSA to Consumers In Advance of the Holiday Shopping Season
In response to Amazon’s 2018 “A Holiday of Play” toy catalog, The Free & Fair Markets Initiative (FFMI) today released a catalog-styled report that details alarming safety violations and recalls for toys sold on Amazon. The catalog, “A Holiday of Risk,” sheds light on Amazon’s growing problem with fake goods sold on their platform and their inability to adequately police counterfeit and potentially dangerous products that eventually fall in the hands of unwitting consumers.

Through a review of regulatory filings and media reports, FFMI found:

  • Amazon, Amazon Fulfillment Services centers, or third-party Amazon Sellers have been issued 37 citations for violations of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, the Phthalate Permanent Ban Limit, and Flammability Standards, among other citations.
  • Since 2012, 20 products sold by or through Amazon Fulfillment Services centers, third-party Amazon sellers, or Amazon corporate have been recalled for fire hazards, strangulation hazards, failing to meet federal flammability standards, and potential to cause electric shock, among other violations.

“Amazon’s unwillingness and inability to stop the sale of fake and potentially dangerous goods calls into question why any parent or customer should trust what they buy on Amazon this holiday season,” said Robert B. Engel, chief spokesperson for FFMI. “It is obvious that shopping on Amazon is a risky role of the dice and parents in particular should use caution when purchasing toys from Amazon’s platform.”

Research shows that as Amazon opens its platform to foreign distributors, shadowy third-party sellers, and shady manufacturers, consumer risk increases. Amazon now plays host to counterfeit toys and products of unknown origin – many of which are low-quality and may cause injury.

  • Between May 2016 and August 2018, consumer advocacy group The Counterfeit Report identified 59,749 counterfeit products available on Amazon.
  • An August 2018 study by L2 found that approximately 33% of product listings by third-party vendors have at least one review claiming the product is “fake” or “counterfeit.”
  • In October 2018, the American Apparel & Footwear Association recommended that a number of Amazon sites should be added to the US government’s “Notorious Markets” list, an annual compilation of commerce sites and companies that facilitate the sale of counterfeit products.

Should consumers come in contact with any fake, dangerous or counterfeit products, FFMI directs them to immediately report those products to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. They can do so here.

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ABOUT THE FREE & FAIR MARKETS INITIATIVE

The Free & Fair Markets Initiative (FFMI) is a non-profit coalition of businesses, consumer advocacy groups, workers and community activists committed to scrutinizing and highlighting emerging market trends that are stifling competition and innovation, influencing federal and local government spending, putting consumer data in harm’s way and limiting consumer choice. For a list of members, please visit https://freeandfairmarketsinitiative.org/about-us/members/. For more information on the Free & Fair Markets Initiative, please visit https://freeandfairmarketsinitiative.org.

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