Amazon May Be Liable For Third-party Seller Products

A U.S. federal appeals court ruled that e-commerce giant Amazon.com can be liable for third-party products sold through its website, reports said. The case could result in a flood of lawsuits from customers who receive defective products from third parties through the online retailer. The rule said Amazon's business model leaves customers hurt by defective products, giving them no direct access to the third party vendors. This helps the third-party vendors to "conceal themselves from the customer." Te decision by the appeals court in Philadelphia comes in the case of Heather Oberdorf, who said she was blinded after a retractable dog leash she bought from the website recoiled and hit her face. The vendor, The Furry Gang, sent the product directly to Oberdorf. Oberdorf and Amazon were not able to track Furry Gang, which has not been active on Amazon's site since 2016. In the lawsuit filed by Oberdorf in 2016, a federal court in Pennsylvania had ruled that Amazon cannot be held liable as a seller of products from third-party vendors. David Wilk, Oberdorf's lawyer, said, "It's gratifying that the 3rd Circuit agreed with our argument and recognized that the existing interpretation of product liability law in Pennsylvania was not addressing the reality, the dominance that Amazon has in the marketplace." As per Reuters report, the case is now sent back to the lower court to decide whether the leash was actually defective. Thorough its site, Amazon sells own inventory, and also allows third-party sellers to list their products. For the quarter ended March, the company reportedly generated about $11 billion in revenue from services for third-party sellers.