Are These Popular Amazon Products Dangerous?

Woman in shock as her phone catches fire
HomeArt / Shutterstock.com

Amazon is more popular than ever. Millions of Americans stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic have turned to the giant online retailer when ordering goods and groceries.

But a recent CNN report suggests that some AmazonBasics products — ranging from USB cords to microwaves — may pose serious dangers to those who purchase them.

AmazonBasics is an Amazon private label line that offers everyday products, as we detail in “20 Generic Brands That Amazon Created.”

In its analysis, CNN found that since 2016, at least 1,500 reviews of more than 70 AmazonBasics items recounted products “exploding, catching on fire, smoking, melting, causing electrical malfunctions or otherwise posing risks.”

CNN notes that about 30 such products with three or more reviews that use terms like “fire” or “hazard” remain on sale at Amazon.

Such reviews represent just a fraction of overall purchases of the products, CNN says. The news outlet also states that fires and other similar mishaps are not unique to Amazon-created goods.

However, electrical engineers told CNN that products that are well-designed and properly built — and properly used — should only rarely pose a hazard to customers.

At its website, CNN lists dozens of specific AmazonBasics products that have received at least three reviews describing products as being hazardous. They include:

  • Batteries
  • Charging cords and accessories
  • Office appliances and electronics
  • Surge protectors
  • Kitchen appliances

Staying safe while shopping

While exploding goods pose a serious danger to your health, there are other, more subtle threats to your safety associated with the goods you purchase.

For example, using a knife or another sharp object to pry open stubborn plastic packaging can result in injuries that are sometimes serious. For more on avoiding this fate, read through the tips in “5 Tips to Opening Plastic Packaging Quickly and Safely.”

Many shoppers turn to prescription drug websites to cut the cost of medications. But how can you make sure you are not putting your health at risk? You’ll discover a half-dozen ways to put such sites to the test in “Prescriptions From Abroad Can Save You Big — but Are They Safe?

Finally, it’s important to keep your personal data out of the hands of fraudsters. Shopping online puts you at risk for divulging such details to scammers. For suggestions about how to stay safe, check out “Is That Retail Website Truly Safe? Here’s an Easy Way to Tell.”

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.