Competition between Amazon’s third-party merchants is notoriously fierce. The online retail giant often finds itself playing the role of referee, banning what it considers unfair business practices (such as offering free products in exchange for perfect reviews, or targeting competitors with so-called “review bombing”). Last month, in the latest round of this push and pull, the online retail giant blew the whistle on several merchants who Amazon claims crossed a red line and may now have to face litigation in federal court.
In July 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed to tackle the thorny question of whether Amazon can be held liable for defective products sold by third parties on its website. The Third Circuit offered up the case in June after hearing arguments in February and concluding that it was “unable to predict based on existing case law, if and how the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would apply [the law] to e-commerce businesses like Amazon.” The Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed to address this matter of first impression and decide whether Amazon faces strict liability for products purchased from third-party vendors when the product “was neither possessed nor owned by” Amazon.