Completed customer orders will be delivered in their boxes on November 14, 2018 at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Hemel Hempstead, England.  Buyers who end up with a defective dummy product sold by a third-party fly-by-night vendor may eventually have a legal recourse: a federal court ruled first that Amazon was held liable for what The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals of Philadelphia issued a statement (PDF) categorizing Amazon as a "seller" under Pennsylvania law, at least for the purposes of the lawsuit. While Amazon argued that any item sold on its site could be attributed to a particular vendor, the court stated that Amazon "does not take into account the fact that … third parties can only communicate with the customer through Amazon," which "makes it possible Third parties to hide from the customer and hurt customers with faulty products without direct recourse. "
Amazon stated in its most recent quarterly report that its extensive third-party market accounts for more than 1
8% of the total market turnover of the company in three months to 11.14 billion US dollars. Analysts are predicting that third-party revenue will exceed first-party Amazon revenue this year. While this largely laissez-faire digital agora is bringing in a bank to the company hosting it, consumers have been facing growing challenges for years with recalled products, toxic goods, counterfeits and complete crap.
The marketplace targets consumers to buy directly from wholesalers, retailers, international companies, or legal entities that may be cheaters. All this can make it difficult for a buyer to find out exactly where he can complain if something goes wrong.
The case, which was placed in the 3rd Circuit, concerns a woman who bought a dog collar from a third-party supplier from Amazon in December 2014. A few weeks later, the woman went for a walk with her dog, and the collar snapped, causing the retractable leash to retract and hurt her left eye, permanently blinding her on that side.
Third party The Furry Gang has virtually disappeared. Neither the woman nor Amazon could have found a representative for the seller, who has no active Amazon account since May 2016, according to the court report.
The injured customer sued Amazon for being liable for a defect and selling dangerous product without even including warnings that could make it safer. The district court issued a summary judgment for Amazon, stating that it was not classified as a "seller" for the purposes of the Pennsylvania Liability Act. The customer appealed.
The Court of Appeals overturned the ruling and found that "Amazon generally does not take precautions to ensure that third-party vendors enjoy a good reputation in the places where they operate" and that Amazon has no trial process, to ensure that providers work together with legal processes. The appeals court referred the case back to the referring court to determine if the product was flawed and what should be done about it.
The lawsuit and the judgment cited two separate legal arguments against Amazon. The first had to do with the direct question: Is Amazon liable as a dealer? The other, however, is directly related to the digital nature of the company: Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
§ 230 contains a clause that protects online platforms in general from liability for the content generated by their users. The law states that a platform may not be treated as an "editor or spokesperson for information" provided by another person. This clause, for example, is the reason why it is difficult to sue Twitter over someone else's tweets.
Amazon's original court ruling found that the consumer's claim against Amazon did not fall under Section 230 because it attempted to hold Amazon accountable. "as an on-line publisher of third-party content."
The majority in the appeal found that Section 230 excluded some, but not all, claims of the plaintiff. "Amazon's involvement in transactions goes beyond a mere editorial function," the court ruled. Insofar as the negligence and no-fault liability claims are "based on Amazon's rule as an actor in the sales process", they are not excluded under Section 230.
The claims of Amazon asserted by the plaintiff, however, were "insufficient warnings" regarding the product constitute an editorial function and are therefore suspended, the court ruled.
Does it stay?
The decision of the Third Circuit is a premiere for Amazon, with which Amazon faced saw similar suits. Federal appeals courts ruled twice in the past two months that Amazon is not liable for a third-party faulty products.
In one case, batteries failed in a spotlight and triggered a fire. which caused a consumer house more than $ 300,000 in damage. The homeowner's insurer sued Amazon for trying to recover the sums paid out to the homeowner.
The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in May that although Amazon was not immune from lawsuits under Section 230, it did not qualify under Section 230 of the Act as a "seller" of the defective product and therefore under the Maryland law not liable for the sale of defective products.
The June 6th appeals court of June ruled in a case in Tennessee similar to an exploding hoverboard.
Appeals courts often investigate cases that have been decided in other circuits to identify precedents and make their own decisions. In all these cases, the present actions are concerned with state consumer protection, criminal or liability law in different states, so that there is no division of the circuits for the examination of no-fault liability. In other words, if you buy something from a third-party Amazon vendor and set fire to your home, Amazon's responsibility for the inferno depends on which state you live in and what jurisdiction it has.