Amazon, and other internet sales platforms, have revolutionized the manner in which goods are purchased and sold. The obligations undertaken by Amazon in those sales are unclear, both as a matter of transparency, and as a matter of legal doctrine. Is Amazon a store? Is it a shipper? Is it a telephone? In various transactions Amazon can play some or all of these roles. Choosing the right metaphor has consequences. Amazon knows this and has done everything it can to deploy the metaphors selectively to its best legal and practical advantage, even when the chosen characterizations are inapt or even mutually inconsistent.
In an earlier article, we explored whether Amazon should be considered a ‘seller’ for the purposes of product liability when a customer purchases goods from a third-party seller using the Amazon platform. We concluded that the answer was an emphatic ‘Yes’. We examined the relationship between Amazon and the third-party seller, and considered the extent to which Amazon controlled all aspects of the sale. We also noted, to a lesser extent, the way in which the consumer experienced the sale process …
Janger, Edward J and Twerski, Aaron D, Warranty, Product Liability and Transaction Structure: The Problem of Amazon (July 1, 2021). Brooklyn Journal of Corporate, Financial and Commercial Law, volume 15, p 1, 2020, Brooklyn Law School, Legal Studies Paper No 677.