Can Amazon do more to protect customers?

Online retail giant Amazon is at the centre of an unusual lawsuit based around eclipse glasses.

South Carolina residents Kayla Harris and fiancée Corey Payne purchased a three-pack of eclipse glasses early this month, believing that they’d do the trick for letting the pair safely view the eclipse. However, the couple were left reeling from dodgy glasses and suffered headaches and eye-watering and, at a later date, vision impairment. 

The retailer had, on August 10th, issued a recall of glasses it was unable to verify as safe, emailing customers to return their units. The couple in question however claim that they did not recieve an email, and say that they are aiming to represent other people who suffered as a result of suspect eclipse glasses.

This whole situation calls into question who is responsible in these kinds of online transactions. With over two million independent sellers utilising Amazon’s platform, counterfeiting and fake products have been a problem for a long time. The company has launched initiatives – including a registry that was launched last November – in order to help identify fake products, but there is still an issue evident in this case.

Obviously the main guilty party is the seller who is selling a faulty product to make a quick buck, but questions have to be asked about whether Amazon has more of a duty to protect its customers and that is at the centre of this lawsuit. 

While the story of fake AMD Ryzen CPUs appearing on the site in July did not, thankfully, end in anybody suffering any physical harm, this is a recurring story that seems to happen around Amazon in spite of schemes and initiatives that are designed to stop fake products from making out into the wild.

Of course it must also be said that Amazon is huge and the vast majority of transactions go through without a hitch, but in the age of social media, stories such as this are often thrust front-and-centre of the public consciousness. 

For now, Amazon will have to deal with this court case while also trying to ensure it is more stringent in preventing situations like this from occuring again.

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