Dems Press Amazon Over Allegations of Exploding Electronics

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If Amazon didn't have enough trouble with this week's House Majority Report and its incendiary branding of the company and other tech giants as threats to democracy, it now faces the ire of Democrats' over allegations of exploding surge protectors and sparking USB cables.

Citing a CNN story, top House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats are asking Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to launch an investigation into the safety of its AmazonBasics product line (House Democrats are also pondering whether they should legislate Amazon out of the business of selling products against those of the users of its marketplace given its power over those sellers).

That came in a letter to Bezos Wednesday (Oct. 7) from Energy & Commerce Committee chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Consumer Protection Subcommittee chair Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). They also want Amazon to answer a bunch of questions related to product safety and its recall policies.

"Despite starkly worded reviews and even photographs posted by consumers warning of the grave safety dangers experienced while using AmazonBasics products, it appears that Amazon has turned a blind eye to these problems, prioritizing sales at the expense of safety," they said in the letter.

The CNN report found that some of Amazon's products had melted, exploded or burst into flames but continued to be sold.

“Concerns regarding Amazon’s own product line add to mounting questions about Amazon’s priorities and oversight of its sprawling platform," they said.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.