Amazon today introduced a new feature that will allow consumers to be better informed about potential product safety alerts and recalls. Now, instead of having to seek out product recall information through third-party websites and other news sources, Amazon shoppers will be able to access a new “Your Recalls and Product Safety Alerts” page that will be linked on the top of their “Your orders” page and shared with customers via email.
When consumers click on the banner or the emailed link, they’ll be directed to a page where they can read more details about the potential safety hazards of products they’ve purchased and review their options — like refunds, returns, and repairs.
“With this new feature, we are able to directly reach 100% of customers who have bought a recalled product in our store and provide clear instructions on what to do next,” Amazon says, in a blog post announcing the new feature.
While the feature is designed to address products Amazon sells, the retailer is also making the new system accessible to its third-party sellers. The company’s U.S.-based selling partners will be able to opt into Amazon’s Recalls Logistics Service (RLS). This will allow the sellers to notify customers who purchased the affected products, while Amazon can manage the process of issuing refunds on behalf of the selling partner as well as managing the return logistics.
However, the drawback here is that the system appears to be limited to U.S. sellers and on an opt-in basis. Many of Amazon’s marketplace sellers are overseas — and in regions that don’t have the same safety standards as in the U.S. This has resulted in unsafe products sold by third-party sellers making their way into U.S. consumers’ hands — including, for example, children’s toys, a 2019 investigation by CBS News found.
Of course, as one of the largest retail websites, Amazon will continue to face a number of product safety issues, due to the size of its catalog. More recently, its recalls have included things like portable chargers recalled for being a fire hazard as well as issues stemming from its own brands, like the Amazon Basics Desk Chairs that were recalled due to the possibility that their legs would break, posing fall and injury hazards. It also sold cups with unsafe lead levels, and more.
In 2021, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) even sued Amazon to force it to accept responsibility for recalling potentially hazardous products it sells. The complaint had cited issues including “24,000 faulty carbon monoxide detectors that fail to alarm, numerous children’s sleepwear garments that are in violation of the flammable fabric safety standard risking burn injuries to children, and nearly 400,000 hair dryers sold without the required immersion protection devices that protect consumers against shock and electrocution.”
Prior to this, several U.S. senators had also written to Amazon to demand the recalls of hazardous products after a CNN investigation found that dozens of AmazonBasics electronics had melted, exploded, or burst into flames.
It has taken some time for Amazon to address the issues around recalls and safety concerns, following these complaints, but the company has historically monitored sources like the CPSC, as well as recalls.gov, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and then taken action — like removing sellers or putting warnings on product pages.
The new page is live now and Amazon says it will proactively notify customers about recalls and safety alerts going forward.