Amazon has said it will compensate customers who suffer injury or property damage from defective goods sold by independent sellers on its US platform.
From 1 September it will pay valid claims of up to $1,000 (£720), which make up more than 80% of injury and damage cases on its site, it said.
It may also cover claims for higher amounts if sellers are “unresponsive”.
It comes as the shopping giant faces mounting pressure over product safety, following a series of court cases.
In July, Amazon was sued by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission in an effort to force it to recall hundreds of thousands of goods.These included faulty carbon monoxide detectors, appliances without sufficient protection against electric shocks, and children’s clothing that did not meet fire standards.
More than half of the goods sold on Amazon now come via third-party vendors, but they are largely unvetted before being sold.
For years, consumers have tried to hold the shopping giant to account over faulty products sold by third parties, but the firm has maintained sellers themselves are responsible – a position which has been backed by most courts.
Regulators allowed to take down eBay listings
However, that has started to change in recent years following a series of high-profile court cases.
In 2019, a Federal court in Philadelphia ruled that a woman blinded by a seller’s retractable dog lead could restart her legal case against Amazon.
She had initially wanted to sue the Nevada-based merchant but had been unable to track them down.
‘Standing by customers‘
In a blog posting, Amazon said it would use its “advanced fraud and abuse detection systems”, as well as independent insurance fraud experts, to identify valid claims.
It said this would save sellers time, money, and better protect customers.
“By standing behind customers and the products in our store, regardless of who sells them, Amazon is going far beyond our legal obligations and what any other marketplace service provider is doing today to protect customers,” the company said.
The firm also announced Amazon Insurance Accelerator, a network of insurance providers that sellers can access if they choose, and an updated policy requiring more merchants to obtain product liability insurance.
The policies will launched in the US first before being rolled out elsewhere.