When it comes to innocent things like USB cables, phone chargers and surge protectors, the general tendency is to go cheap. And if it has a well-known brand, like Amazon, attached, it̵7;s even better. Or maybe not: a report suggests that dozens of AmazonBasic products are fire hazards that could endanger your home.
CNN has been taking a hard look at AmazonBasic product reviews for a long time, and it found more than 1,700 reviews of over 70 articles that mentioned fire, explosions, smelting or other safety hazards. In many cases, customers did nothing wrong, such as when a microwave oven caught fire when an eight-year-old tried to heat macaroni and cheese.
In an even more outrageous story, a man ended up in hospital with burns after an AmazonBasics USB cable caught fire while draping over a chair. The stories continue from there, and many include damage to homes and belongings.
Even worse, while some of these items are no longer for sale, CNN found many cases where you can still buy products despite dangers.
In the more than 1,500 reviews, many consumers explicitly called items potentially dangerous – with terms such as “danger” or “fire” or that the product should be recalled. About 30 items with three or more reviews like this remain for sale on Amazon.com today. At least 11 other products that meet these criteria were no longer for sale at the time of publication. Some became inaccessible after CNN began reporting, and at least four product pages were completely removed from the retailer’s website, leaving dead URLs that employees called “dog pages.” Amazon confirmed that at least eight of these products had been tested, but said the company determined that they all met its safety standards.
According to CNN, Amazon has only ever issued official recalls for two AmazonBasics products. In addition to these reminders, Amazon has not publicly acknowledged any dangers in its products. When CNN brought its survey results to Amazon, the company confirmed that eight of the products mentioned by CNN were being investigated, but ultimately met its safety standards.
You can still buy many of the products that CNN has flagged and reported to Amazon, so before you hit the buy button on an “Amazon’s Choice” item, it might be worth reading a few reviews. You can see CNN’s full (and lengthy) report on its website.