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Monday September 16, 2019

Amazon Describes Compliance Practices to Commissioners

Amazon representatives September 9 visited commissioners' offices to explain the company's regulatory practices. The activity was in response to a recent Wall Street Journal article on finding thousands of problematic products for sale on the platform, including issues under CPSC's jurisdiction.


The discussion – high level and not addressing specific examples from the article – included how Amazon enforces standards and regulations across its four business models. Those involve whether Amazon or a user is the seller and whether or not Amazon handles fulfillment.


Oversight includes users signing agreements to sell compliant product and a vetting process by which Amazon ensures that they are legitimate companies as well as that they are not problem sellers popping up with new identities.


Another topic was how Amazon scans millions of customer comments via machine learning to look not just for keywords but for "sentiment." This also is related to Amazon's participation in CPSC's retailer reporting program.


The visitors also noted the platform's ability to suspend sellers during investigations and possible further action. They highlighted its good ability to reach customers during recalls as it typically has current contact information.


They were willing to have deeper discussion in closed portions of the meetings. PSL attended the session with Commissioner Peter Feldman but not others. He did not seek such feedback but said when asked about the Wall Street Journal piece, that he was still going through the issues raised for full understanding. The visitors offered to provide answers to any questions that might arise.


CNBC September 11 issued a story about vendors being able to sell toys prior to Amazon asking for compliance documentation.


Amazon has a closed session scheduled for September 17 with Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle to discuss "confidential and proprietary business information."