Boston, Holt & Durham, PLLC

Dangerous products being bought from anonymous sellers

It used to be that if a person purchased an item that did not perform as intended or was in some other way defective, the purchaser could return it to the point of purchase and request a refund. If an injury resulted from the defective product, one could petition the seller for some form of retribution. Amazon is changing the way people in Tennessee shop and is also blurring the lines around who is responsible for the sale of what have been identified as dangerous products.

In one instance, a person purchased a dog collar from Amazon. She was walking her dog when the dog lunged after a small animal that was scurrying by. The collar broke and caused the leash to snap back and hit the woman in the eye. The injury resulted in her permanently losing the vision in that eye.

The woman attempted to sue the seller for selling a faulty product. However, the third-party seller the collar had been purchased from was nowhere to be found. When the suit was presented to Amazon, they claimed no responsibility as they were simply providing a platform for third-party sellers to market and sell their products. The case is heading for appeal next year.

Internet commerce has forever changed the retail landscape in Tennessee and around the country. It used to be a person walked into a store, put an item in a cart and went to the cash register to pay for it. It was very clear who the seller was of that product. When purchasing from Amazon, the purchaser is paying Amazon, but the actual seller's identity can be unclear. Many items deemed to be dangerous products are reportedly available on Amazon, and liability for potential injury could be hard to identify.

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