Amazon Investigates Safety Concerns Posted To Its Website?

A reader tells us that Amazon is investigating product safety issues that are posted to its website:

I just wanted to let you guys know that Amazon has been tracking reviews posted for possible safety concerns. I had a rice cooker that decided to shock me several times, so I wrote an anonymous review back in January. Unexpectedly, a few weeks ago, I get an email from Amazon asking about the incident. Given the gap between the review and the email, I suspect this is a new program on their part. A copy of their email is below.

-teh

Dear XXXX,

Greetings from Amazon.com,

You submitted a potential safety concern for Aroma ARC7031G 6-Cup Rice Cooker and Food Steamer.

Thank you for taking the time to submit a safety concern. It is the continuous dialogue between our customers and Amazon.com that helps improve the overall customer experience on our site.

The safety of the products we sell is very important to us. We would like to gather additional information regarding your safety concern. Please take a few minutes to answer the questions below.

For internal reference, this has been assigned Concern ID XXXXX

Thank you once again for taking the time to submit the consumer safety concern. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns, and thanks again for shopping at Amazon.com!

Sincerely,

Product Compliance Team

Electrical Shock I was shocked by this rice cooker twice. It is not properly grounded and I would not recommend it to anyone.

Please reply to this email and choose an answer for each of the following the questions.

1. May Amazon.com provide your customer contact information to the manufacturer of the product and/or relevant government agencies so they maybe contact you for more detailed information?

a) Yes b) No

Answer:

2. Was anyone injured by the product? If so, how many people?

Number 0, 1, 2, 3 …

Answer:

3. Did the product causeany fatalities? If so, how many people? Please enter 0 if there were no fatalities.

Number: 0, 1, 2, 3 …

Answer:

4. If anyone was injured, how severe was the injury?

a) No Injury b) Minor First Aid c) Professional Medical Treatment d) Hospitalization e) Permanent Disability f) Death

(Please select a – f)

Answer:

5. If anyone was injured, what type of injury was caused by the product?

a) Burn b) Choking/Asphyxia/Suffocation/Strangulation c) Drowning or Near Drowning d) Shock (All Types) e) Contusion/Abrasions/Swelling/Laceration f) Poisoning/Inhalation g) Head Injury/Head Trauma h) Fracture/Dislocation i) Nerve Damage j) Internal Organ Injury k) Other Injury l) None

(Please select a – l)

Answer:

6. What was the nature of the safety hazard?

a) Fire b) Mechanical c) Electrocution d) Chemical e) Entrapment f) Other g) None

(Please select a – g)

Answer:

Please add any additional comments or information about this product safety concern.

Answer:

Well, this seems like a very good idea. Of course, you can report unsafe products directly to the appropriate agencies…

For most items: File a complaint with the CPSC.
For automobiles: File a complaint with the NHTSA
For most food, cosmetics, etc: File a complaint with the FDA

Comments

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  1. nuch says:

    “3. Did the product causeany fatalities? If so, how many people? Please enter 0 if there were no fatalities.”

    I can’t help but find that slightly hilarious. Following up on safety concerns is a great idea, but the survey approach as relating to deaths just seems a little goofy, and maybe slightly inappropriate.

  2. King of the Wild Frontier says:

    Good for them for following up, but… how anonymous was it if they emailed the reviewer back? Pseudonymous, maybe?

  3. Caroofikus says:

    you can report unsafe products directly to the appropriate agencies…

    Yes, but I’m sure more gets done sooner this way…

  4. scoobydoo says:

    Sounds to me like a case of CYA. It’s nice of them, but it’s still cheaper than their name all over the news for blowing up someone with a faulty rice cooker.

  5. Rachacha says:

    Actually, Amazon (and all retailers for that matter) are required to report any injuries or potential safety issues to the appropriate agencies. The fact that Amazon is trolling the comments looking for potential complaints of injuries is just that much better.

  6. not_seth_brundle says:

    I think it’s more likely that Amazon became aware of the safety issue some other way, and then checked the reviews, saw someone had brought this up, and sent the survey.

  7. teh says:

    @King of the Wild Frontier: I was logged in to my Amazon account when I left the comment, so it was already tracked to my name. I guess the answer is that it was anonymous to everyone else, but not to Amazon.

  8. InThrees says:

    Yes, you can report unsafe products directly to certain agencies, but this is apparently the difference between Walmart doing nothing about caustic sandles and Amazon being proactive and deciding to actively investigate potentially dangerous products and suspend sales if the element of danger bears out.

    Good for Amazon – it’s about time a major, large retailer did more than just say words like “We do not want to sell dangerous and unsafe products to our customers.”

  9. mantari says:

    Amazon doesn’t sell guns, right? And do they care about the deaths or injuries to pets and animals?

  10. ChaosMotor says:

    @mantari: Agenda, much?

    Why not ask about cars or alcohol? They don’t sell those, either, nor tobacco.

    They do have an extensive collection of knives, bows & arrows, and I even found a children’s 4-wheeler. But that doesn’t imply questioning the 2nd amendment or pet ownership.

    They also sell ammonia & bleach, fertilizer, nitrogen, saltpeter, charcoal, and sulfur. I’m sure you can figure out what dangerous things you might do with those.

  11. John says:

    For a company so concerned with consumer safety and reporting faulty products to the correct agencies, they have an odd attitude toward the promotion of animal cruelty.

    Amazon continues to sell, and is the only major online source for magazine subscriptions to periodicals like “Gamecock” and “Grit and Steel”. These magazines promote cockfighting, an activity that is illegal throughout the US. Selling materials that directly promote it (say, by ads offering fighting birds for sale or selling the custom-made razors that strap to the birds’ legs to inflict more damage) is also illegal, and it’s illegal to ship any such material through the US mail.

    The law is unenforced, so Amazon allows it to continue.

    As you might be able to tell, I don’t shop there any more. :)