Amazon Faces Liability for a Third-Party Vendor’s Defective Product

On Wednesday, July 17th, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Amazon can be held liable for defective goods sold on its site by third-party vendors. This decision could be significant for Amazon which continues to face criticism for counterfeits and dangerous items being sold through its platform. Amazon argues that it does not count as a "seller" because it simply provides the platform, but the appeals court said it disagrees. The court’s opinion states that Amazon may be liable in part because its business model “enables third-party vendors to conceal themselves from the customer, leaving customers injured by defective products with no direct recourse to the third-party vendor.”

Previously, two federal appeals courts have ruled that Amazon cannot be held liable for products from third-party sellers, but the federal appeals court decision on Wednesday reversed the latest lower court decision. The case will now be sent back to the federal district court for trial.

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