WSJ: Amazon Marketplace Fails Consumer Protection Standards

Today, the Wall Street Journal published a deep dive into the third-party marketplace operated by Amazon.com, highlighting flaws in the platform’s ability to effectively abide by federal regulations surrounding consumer protection, counterfeit goods, and product safety. The WSJ found that Amazon's marketplace carried products that "big box retailers' policies would bar from their shelves."

Earlier this year, RILA submitted comments to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) outlining retailers’ concerns with the ability of big tech companies to control product information, prices, and quality, and the negative impact this can have on consumers, writing:

“If the digital interface masks or obfuscates the true identity of the seller, or leaves the misimpression that an item is new and from the manufacturer, or falsely implies that a knock-off item is just like the option from a well-known brand, consumers (as well as regulators and enforcers) have no ability to uncover the truth until after their purchase. That harms consumers who do not get what they were looking for, and may not even realize it because the provenance or nature of their item has been obscured by the very information source through which they sought out the item in the first place.”

Today, the Wall Street Journal confirmed retailers’ concerns, reporting:

“A Wall Street Journal investigation found 4,152 items for sale on Amazon.com Inc.’s site that have been declared unsafe by federal agencies, are deceptively labeled or are banned by federal regulators—items that big-box retailers’ policies would bar from their shelves. Among those items, at least 2,000 listings for toys and medications lacked warnings about health risks to children.”

RILA and its members continue to urge the FTC to examine competition and consumer protection in the modern economy and take the next steps with investigations and actions against companies that are deceptively selling products that are counterfeit, compromised, or in any way harmful to American consumers.

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RILA is the US trade association for leading retailers. We convene decision-makers, advocate for the industry, and promote operational excellence and innovation. Our aim is to elevate a dynamic industry by transforming the environment in which retailers operate.

RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs, and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers domestically and abroad.
Tags
  • Technology & Innovation
  • Competition
  • Consumer Product Compliance

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