AmazonBasics products are reportedly going up in flames

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Amazon posts strong Q4 results to cap off 2019.

Anyone who shops on Amazon knows that the e-commerce giant has its own lineup of products under the AmazonBasics brand. The items range from microwaves to charging cables and batteries to bedsheets.

According to a new report from CNN, these products might have a major issue—safety. The news outlet counted at least 1,500 reviews dating back to 2016 that describe “products, exploding, catching on fire, smoking, melting, causing electrical malfunctions, or otherwise posing risks.”

This is obviously a serious problem for Amazon. Interestingly, it isn’t the first time that the company has been accused of selling defective goods.

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Going Boom

No one wants to buy a product that could pose a serious fire risk. However, that might be what consumers are getting when purchasing an AmazonBasics item. Some of the stories detailed in CNN’s extensive report are harrowing.

One man went to the hospital after a USB cord melted on his office chair and ignited the upholstery while he was sleeping. Another customer saw flames coming out of a surge protector that had a single phone charger plugged into it. Meanwhile, an AmazonBasics microwave caught on fire while an eight-year-old tried to use it.

According to CNN, more than 70 products were mentioned in customer reviews that called out issues like “fire” or being a “hazard.”

In a statement, an Amazon spokesperson said, “We take the safety of our products seriously, and are confident that the AmazonBasics Microwave is safe to use. We take several steps to ensure our products are safe including rigorous testing by our safety teams and third-party labs. The appliance continues to meet or exceed all certification requirements… for safety and functionality.”

Despite the responsible-sounding statement, Amazon didn’t hesitate to leave the defective products up on its website. More than 30 of the products with three or more reviews describing a hazard of some sort were available on Amazon at the time of CNN’s report. However, the e-commerce giant was quick to remove many of them in the wake of the news.

The timing of that is obviously suspicious. It also calls into question whether or not Amazon is actually concerned about the fact it is selling potentially dangerous products that fall under its brand.

What Next?

CNN’s investigation certainly stirred the pot. At this point, it isn’t clear what will happen next for Amazon’s in-house product line. The bad publicity will likely scare some potential customers away. However, it’s unlikely that AmazonBasics will go anywhere in the long run.

In the past, the firm has issued just two official recalls of its AmazonBasics products. Over the past eight years, the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has received 10 reports regarding the company’s products.

Consumers in the market for new small electronics may want to be wary of AmazonBasics products. CNN’s report also mentioned a two-slice toaster, an electric hot water kettle, a coffee maker, an outdoor patio heater, a car battery jumper cable, multiple surge protectors, batteries, a thermal laminator machine, and various charging cables and accessories.

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