Assembly Bill 3262 Will Hold Online Marketplaces Responsible for Selling Dangerous Products

By Megan Demshki

In an exciting step forward for consumers, the California Assembly approved legislation on June 11, 2020, that will hold online marketplaces like Amazon to the same legal standard as brick and mortar stores when they sell dangerous products.

Assembly Bill 3262 was developed because online retailers frequently attempt to skirt consumer protection laws that hold businesses in the supply chain responsible for dangerous products, claiming that these protections do not apply to e-commerce.

Under existing law, a manufacturer, supplier, or seller of goods is strictly liable if a product the company places on the market, knowing that it is to be used without inspection for defects by the consumer who purchased it, proves to have a defect that causes injury to a human being.

The purpose of that liability is to ensure that the costs of injuries resulting from defective products are borne by the manufacturers, suppliers, or sellers that put the products on the market, rather than by the injured persons who are powerless to inspect the product and protect themselves before purchase.

AB 3262 by Asm. Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay), which prevailed on a 48-to-10 vote, is sponsored by the Consumer Attorneys of California (“CAOC”), a professional organization of plaintiff attorneys representing consumers seeking accountability against wrongdoers in cases involving personal injury, product liability, environmental degradation, and other causes. The attorneys at Aitken Aitken Cohn are all members of CAOC, including Past President Wylie A. Aitken and current Treasurer Casey R. Johnson.

In a time when online purchasing has become more prevalent than ever, AB 3262 will level the playing field when it comes to the safety of the products sold between online retailers and mom-and-pop stores while providing remedies to consumers who are injured or killed by dangerous products sold online. The items sold online are often sold from other countries that do not have the same safety procedures or protocols required of items sold on store shelves in California.

Aitken Aitken Cohn would like to thank our members of the California Assembly that recognize the importance of holding online retailers responsible. Aitken Aitken Cohn will monitor AB 3262 as it goes to the California Senate for consideration.