3 Things To Know About Amazon’s Consumer Protection Failures

Date: March 10, 2022

Contact: mediacenter@freeandfairmarketsinitiative.org

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3 Things To Know About Amazon’s Consumer Protection Failures

This week is National Consumer Protection Week, an annual reminder that Americans need to be vigilant for scams and frauds — which cost consumers nearly $6 billion in 2021. This is especially true when shopping on Amazon, which has too often looked the other way as bad actors flood third-party marketplace with counterfeit, shoddy, and potentially dangerous products. On top of this, the company aggressively lobbied Congress to kill a bipartisan bill, known as the INFORM Consumers Act, aimed at protecting e-commerce shoppers. 

Below are three things to know when it comes to Amazon and consumer protection.  

1. Amazon’s e-commerce platform is filled with counterfeit products that shoppers are often duped into purchasing.

“Researchers who study counterfeiting estimate that nearly $1 trillion worth of fake goods flood the global economy. These experts say that most of the fake goods on Amazon are not knockoff designer handbags, but counterfeits of everyday staples like Dove soap, Similac formula, and Hydro Flask bottles.” 

(Fast Company, ‘The volume of the problem is astonishing’: Amazon’s battle against fakes may be too little, too late, 5/17/21) 

“‘They are coming from China,’ Khalifah said, adding that many counterfeit products on Amazon have fake reviews that are simply copied and pasted from reviews of unrelated items like movies and books. ‘They are building an inferior product for an inflated price. People can actually get sick if they use masks that [aren’t legitimate],’ he said.” 

(Fox Business, Fake coronavirus products on Amazon: What to look for, 3/17/20)

2. Amazon has faced mounting government scrutiny over faulty and illicit items sold on its marketplace. 

“The US Consumer Product Safety Commission says Amazon is selling hazardous products to its customers. The federal safety watchdog is suing Amazon to stop. Among the products cited in the suit are carbon monoxide detectors that fail to alarm, numerous children’s pajamas that could catch fire and nearly 400,000 hair dryers that could electrocute people if dropped in water.” 

(CNN Business, US sues Amazon for selling dangerous products, 7/15/21) 

“For the third time in three years, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered Amazon to stop selling illegal pesticides on its online marketplace, saying the chemicals pose ‘a significant and immediate health risk to consumers, children, pets, and others exposed to the products.’” 

(The Seattle Times, EPA again orders Amazon to stop selling illegal pesticides, 2/9/2021)

3. Meanwhile, the tech giant has tried to kill or water down federal consumer protection legislation while opposing similar state-level bills. 

“In the weeks since that announcement, however, the co-sponsors of the legislation in both chambers and Amazon’s retailer rivals have grumbled that Amazon’s support is largely rhetorical and that the e-commerce giant is still pushing behind the scenes to water down the legislation.”  

(Politico Morning Tech, Drama Over Anti-Counterfeit Bill, 11/19/2021) 

“An email obtained by MT shows that Amazon implicitly endorsed critics’ arguments that a nearly identical state version of the legislation would amount to a civil rights violation, eight days before the company came out in support of the federal bill.” 

(Politico Morning Tech, Drama Over Anti-Counterfeit Bill, 11/19/2021) 


The Free & Fair Markets Initiative (FFMI) is a nonprofit watchdog group committed to promoting a fair, modern marketplace that works for all Americans. For more information on the Free & Fair Markets Initiative, please visit https://freeandfairmarketsinitiative.org/

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