Selling On Amazon: Who’s Liable for Sold Defective Goods

words Al Woods

Sold Defective Goods

In this age and era, most consumers are taking to the internet to purchase products and services they need in their day-to-day lives. Thanks to the revolutionized world of e-commerce, online shopping has made our lives easier in so many ways. You can easily order an item in minutes from the comfort of your couch or bed, make your payment and wait for it to be delivered to your doorstep, which usually takes a couple of hours to a few days. Online shopping is cost-effective, efficient, and highly convenient.

As you might already know, Amazon is inarguably the largest e-commerce platform on the planet. The market place is trusted across the entire globe, which is one of the reasons for its huge popularity. However, Amazon also allows affiliates and third parties to sell their merchandise on the platform, and this is perhaps the reason why you’ll find literally anything sellable online on Amazon. But like with most other retail businesses, as you will see if you browse this page, it’s not unusual to buy a product on Amazon, only to find that it is defective.  When this happens, many consumers are left wondering who to blame and where to seek help. This raises the big question about selling on Amazon, “who can be held liable for sold defective goods?” Well, the direct answer is that it depends on the product and whether it’s stocked by Amazon or third-party sellers in the marketplace.

This post is meant to answer just this, so stick around and read on.

Marketplace Sellers

Amazon’s Marketplace provides consumers with a range of products, most of which are cheaper and easily accessible. However, most of these products are less controlled by the company, and some of them can be less reliable than comparable items on the general market. Perhaps, for this reason, sellers in Amazon’s Marketplace carry the biggest risk of liability if a product sold is found to be defective. Also, under the company’s seller policies, Amazon takes no responsibility for defective products sold in the marketplace by third-party merchants. This means that consumers can return faulty or defective products to the sellers through Amazon. In cases where the consumer suffers harm caused by the defective product, they (or their insurance company) may file claims against the product’s seller or in line with the applicable product liability laws in the state/country. All the same, this is one of the reasons marketplace sellers on Amazon need to carry product liability insurance.

Amazon Inc.

For a long time, Amazon has been bullet-proof when it comes to liability for defective goods sold on the platform by third-party merchants. They’ve always maintained that Amazon is merely an intermediary that allows sellers and buyers to easily connect and that the only products they can take responsibility for are the ones sold by the e-commerce giant directly. This is why in most cases of defective product liability, most courts have ruled in Amazon’s favor. However, many courts have recently reconsidered this argument and even held Amazon liable for any defective goods sold by third parties. This has been seen in rulings by law courts in various states in the US, including Missouri, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

Product Manufacturers 

The manufacturer of a defective product may also be held liable for any harm, injury, inconvenience, or other damages that the faulty item might have caused the consumer. A good example is where a consumer purchases an iron box on Amazon, and during use, the item bursts into flames and causes a fire. If the consumer is lucky enough to escape the house and they have homeowners insurance, the insurance company can cover the costs of reconstruction or renovation, and, in turn, sue the product’s manufacturer as well as Amazon for strict product liability.

selling on amazon

Determining who’s liable for a defective product can sometimes be a cloudy area, especially for merchandise purchased online. It’s even trickier if you’re dealing with products purchased on the online retail giant’s platform, which provides both its own products and products from third-party sellers. To protect your business as a third-party Amazon seller, it is always advisable to have adequate product liability insurance just in case one of your products turns out defective and gets you in hot soup with the law. Additionally, it’s important to adhere to the seller policies and selling codes of conduct provided by Amazon at all times. As a consumer, the above few pointers can help you determine who to hold responsible for damages you may have suffered from a defective item bought on Amazon.


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