Federal safety regulators investigating AmazonBasics products highlighted in CNN report

The federal agency responsible for overseeing consumer product safety is investigating Amazon-branded electronic products highlighted in a CNN investigation last year, according to records and interviews.

CNN reported last year that dozens of AmazonBasics electronics remained for sale on Amazon.com, despite customers reporting the products had melted, exploded or burst into flames. Lawmakers immediately called on the company to investigate and recall any electronics posing dangers to customers.

Now, at least eight of the items highlighted in CNN’s investigation are being reviewed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, according to letters CNN received from the agency in response to public records requests. Among the products are surge protectors, phone charging cords, a patio heater, battery charger and a voice-activated microwave that consumers reported had caught fire.

The CPSC would not say how many products are under review or what safety concerns are being examined. It also rejected CNN’s request for records about the AmazonBasics products, citing the pending investigations.

One customer who told CNN last year about how his surge protector had turned into what resembled a “blowtorch” and started a fire in his home confirmed to reporters that the CPSC contacted him for the first time in February to learn more about his experience.

He had posted a review about the fire back in 2018 and received a roughly $1,500 payment to cover damage to his home in a settlement in which Amazon denied any liability. Yet CNN found that Amazon continued to sell the surge protector for nearly two years after that review was posted — even though more than 40 customers had also reported the product was a fire hazard, caused damage to their home or belongings or described other dangers.

Amazon pulled the item from its site in 2019, weeks after CNN began looking into it, but did not appear to provide any notification to customers, including to the reporters who purchased the device. And the company did not post any message on its site about why it was taken down.

Amazon declined to comment on the CPSC investigations, only saying that it continues to evaluate every report of a potential safety concern and take appropriate action and that none of the products featured in CNN’s investigation have been recalled or discontinued for safety reasons.

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