Part of being Earth’s most customer-centric company means working hard every day to earn our customers’ trust. Over the years, we’ve done that by providing customers with a great experience—carrying the selection they want, offering it at a great price, and getting it to their door steps fast. It also means working hard to ensure the products offered in our stores are safe and authentic. Since 1999, Amazon has welcomed third-party sellers onto Amazon.com and enabled them to offer their products right alongside our own, giving entrepreneurs an unprecedented opportunity to reach hundreds of millions of customers worldwide. These sellers, which are mainly small and medium-sized businesses, now sell the vast majority of new products—and nearly 60% of all products—purchased on Amazon.com.
Today, when a customer is injured by a defective product, they are able to seek damages from the retailer and the manufacturer under a concept called “strict liability.”
AB 3262 would extend this strict liability law to online marketplaces. If enacted, companies like Amazon could be held liable for damages or injuries caused by items sold by third-party sellers on Amazon.com. We share the California legislature’s goal of keeping consumers safe. To further that goal, this legislation aimed at protecting consumers should apply equally to all stores, including all online marketplaces. Injured consumers should be able to seek compensation regardless of how a particular online marketplace makes money. For example, some online marketplaces charge third-party sellers up-front fees to post a product, while others charge sellers by taking a percentage of their sales, while others charge advertisers in order to be compensated for operating their marketplaces. The common thread is that all online marketplaces—like all marketplaces everywhere—bring buyers and sellers together. For AB 3262 to be a successful, lasting, and meaningful law, it cannot leave open loopholes for some marketplaces to escape accountability. This will merely incentivize companies to restructure how they operate to avoid being held to this strict liability.
We invest heavily – and our teams work around the clock - to prevent counterfeit, defective, and harmful products from being sold in our store because our customer obsession demands it. And that same commitment means we agree it is time for legislation that makes it clear that customers can seek remedies from any store where they buy products. Those customer protections should apply to all online marketplaces regardless of their particular business models. If AB 3262 is amended so that all stores, including online marketplaces, are held to the same standards, Amazon stands ready to support this legislation. We call on all companies who operate online marketplaces to join us.