Federal Agency Investigating AmazonBasics Products for Fire Hazards

According to a report from CNN, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the federal agency that oversees consumer product safety, is now investigating Amazon-branded electronic products highlighted in a CNN investigation last year.

In 2020, it was reported that several dozen AmazonBasics electronics remained for sale on Amazon.com despite customers reporting that products had melted, exploded, or burst into flames. Lawmakers immediately called on Amazon to investigate and recall any electronics posing a danger to consumers.

Now, at least eight of the items highlighted in CNN’s investigation are being reviewed by the CPSC. Among the products are surge protectors, phone-charging cords, a patio heater, a battery charger, and a voice-activated microwave that consumers reported had caught fire. The CPSC did not indicate how many products are under review or what safety concerns are being examined. The Commission also rejected CNN’s request for records about the AmazonBasics products, citing the pending investigations.

Dozens of AmazonBasics product are flagged as dangerous, but many are still being sold. Consumer Matt Citro reported that he had posted a review about a fire started by his surge protector in 2018; he received roughly $1,500 to cover damage to his home in a settlement in which Amazon denied liability. However, CNN discovered that Amazon continued to sell the surge protector for nearly two years after that review was posted, and more than 40 customers had also reported the product as a fire hazard, caused damage to their home or belongings, or described other dangers.

Amazon removed the item from its Web site in 2019, weeks after CNN’s investigation, but they did not provide any notification to customers, including to the reporters who purchased the device. In addition, the company did not post any message on its site about why it was removed.

Amazon declined to comment on the CPSC investigations, only saying that it continues to evaluate every report of a potential safety concern and take appropriate action, further saying that none of the products investigated by CNN have been recalled or discontinued for safety concerns.


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