Amazon is liable for the defective products sold by the third parties through its marketplace, says California Court of Appeal. 

Judge Patricia Guerrero of the Fourth District Court of Appeals pronounced that “under established principles of strict liability, Amazon should be held liable if a product sold through its website turns out to be defective.”

Angela Bolger, a San Deigo woman, filed a case in the court to hold Amazon responsible for the damaged products sold through its marketplace. According to Bolger, she sustained third-degree burn after a laptop replacement battery that she had purchased form the E-life-a Hong Kong-based company-  via the Amazon marketplace exploded.

In response to the allegations by Bolger, Amazon said that it is not accountable for the defective product as “it did not distribute, manufacture, or sell the product,” and that Lenoge was the seller.

However, Judge Guerrero stated that Amazon’s involvement in the whole procedure was more than that of a mere online marketplace such as eBay.  She added that, though Amazon didn’t manufacture the product, it was stored in an Amazon warehouse, and Bolger received the product in Amazon packaging. 

“Amazon placed itself between Lenoge and Bolger in the chain of distribution of the product at issue here. Amazon accepted possession of the product from Lenoge, stored it in an Amazon warehouse, attracted Bolger to the Amazon website, provided her with a product listing for Lenoge’s product, received her payment for the product, and shipped the product in Amazon packaging to her. Whatever term we use to describe Amazon’s role, be it “retailer,” “distributor,” or merely “facilitator,” it was pivotal in bringing the product here to the consumer.”

Amazon, on the other hand, didn’t instantly respond to the judgment, but it has an option available to challenge the decision in the Supreme Court.