Many of us own electronics sold under the AmazonBasics brand, Amazon’s private label that includes products ranging from batteries and charging cables to charcoal grills and microwaves. I even recommend the AmazonBasics HDMI cables in Take Control of Apple TV. But we all might want to exercise more caution when purchasing such products. CNN has published a jaw-dropping investigation of the brand that reveals numerous tales of fires and explosions caused by AmazonBasics products. CNN discovered more than 1500 reviews on Amazon’s own site documenting these and similarly concerning issues, including:
- Flames shooting out of a surge protector
- Leaking and exploding batteries
- USB cables bursting into flame
- Paper shredders exploding
- Microwaves catching on fire
Of course, Amazon, like Dan Aykroyd’s classic Irwin Mainway character from Saturday Night Live, denies there’s any problem. But Amazon has struggled with quality issues for years—we reported on the company selling counterfeit Apple accessories back in 2016 (see “Be Careful When Buying Apple Accessories on Amazon,” 24 October 2016).
Despite Amazon’s denial, we suggest subjecting AmazonBasics products to a higher level of caution until more details come out. Now excuse me as I nervously eye the squat AmazonBasics paper shredder that sits menacingly next to my desk.