Dozens of AmazonBasics products could pose a safety risk, report says

A voice-enabled microwave was particularly problematic, according to the report.

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Karissa Bell
September 10th, 2020
THORNTON, CO - FEBRUARY 19: Jared Villarreal loads boxes into a trailer of a truck to be shipped out at Amazon's Fulfillment Center on March 19, 2019 in Thornton, Colorado. The facility which opened in July of 2018 is 855,000 square feet, and employees over 1500 people. The Thornton facility is a state-of-the-art facility that uses Amazon Robotics to move the merchandise around from one area to the next.  Hundreds of workers perform a variety of jobs in the huge facility. Many workers stand at stations, picking items to ship from trays brought to them by robots that roam the massive warehouse floor. The robotic facility, near I-25 and 144th Avenue, distributes small- and medium-sized items and  allows for quicker delivery of orders in the metro area.  (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images via Getty Images

It might be a good idea to carefully read the reviews before you buy another AmazonBasics product. A new report from CNN says dozens of products sold by Amazon with “AmazonBasics” branding could pose a safety risk, according to customer reviews.

According to their lengthy investigation, at least 70 AmazonBasics products have been associated with fires and other safety issues. “Since 2016, at least 1,500 reviews, covering more than 70 items, have described products exploding, catching on fire, smoking, melting, causing electrical malfunctions or otherwise posing risks,” CNN writes.

The affected products include USB charging cables, battery chargers, office equipment and other inexpensive accessories. One particularly problematic product, according to CNN, was a voice-enabled microwave that “began sparking and smoking” as soon as it was turned on by researchers tapped by CNN to investigate the product. 

CNN notes that in some cases the product in question wasn’t even being used when it caught fire or appeared to overheat. The source of the issues wasn’t immediately clear. But for some products the problems were widespread enough that they were reported by dozens of people who bought the same item.

Amazon has since discontinued some of the products identified by CNN, but continues to sell other items named in the report — even after multiple customers say the product melted, sparked or otherwise posed a safety hazard. 

In a statement, an Amazon spokesperson said “safety is a top priority,” and the company is “confident that the AmazonBasics Microwave is safe to use.” “The appliance continues to meet or exceed all certification requirements established by the FDA, UL, FCC, Prop 65, and others for safety and functionality,” the spokesperson said. Amazon also pointed to a recent blog post about the safety of AmazonBasics.

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