Hungry for deals on Amazon? There are plenty of ways to save big on products without too much effort. And one of the most popular bargain brands, AmazonBasics, gives users access to a range of discounted everyday items that are easy to sort through.
It’s not just AmazonBasics, though. There are plenty of discounted treasures to find on Amazon if you look around hard enough. Tap or click here to see Kim’s latest list of must-have Amazon items for your time in quarantine.
But as cheap and easy to buy as AmazonBasics products are, a disturbing trend has been noticed in several products: spontaneous combustion! As it turns out, many AmazonBasics items are bursting into flames due to poor quality control — and some people have even been injured. We have the latest information on this trend, along with alternative items that are safe to buy.
Too hot to handle
According to an exclusive investigative report by CNN, a significant number of AmazonBasics products are not meeting basic safety standards. Since 2016, more than 1,500 reviews for more than 70 items describe products that burst into flame, smoke, explode or melt outright.
All of these products have one thing in common: electrical power. This means that somewhere along the line, quality control isn’t catching bad ones that can pose safety risks to consumers.
The severity of defects ranges from mildly annoying to downright dangerous. One reviewer described his defective power strip as a “blowtorch” that shot flames straight into the air. Other reviewers described products that caught fire without them noticing — with only their smoke alarms preventing the situation from getting worse.
What’s more, nobody can point the finger at fake reviewers either. Incidents collected by CNN came from verified reviewers, which means Amazon confirmed that they actually bought the product they were talking about.
AmazonBasics items known to catch fire — based on reviews — include the following products:
- USB to Lightning cables
- power strips and extension cords
- microwave ovens
- car chargers
- paper shredders (one of these actually burned someone and singed their hair)
As for why this is happening? Nobody is 100% sure. According to CNN, tests were performed on several damaged items like USB cords and microwaves — and in the case of at least one oven, protective shielding wasn’t properly mounted.
All in all, this investigation shows just how important it is to read reviews and do careful research on any product you buy. It doesn’t matter if it’s coming from a major brand or not. As we all know from smartphones, even the biggest tech giants can suffer slipups.
What are some safe options to buy from Amazon?
In light of user complaints (and likely CNN’s reporting), Amazon has removed or replaced several items with fire hazards mentioned in reviews. At this point in time, it’s likely that several still remain — which is why we would not advise buying electrical AmazonBasics products for the time being.
But just because you’re not buying the Basics doesn’t mean you can’t save money. Here are some of our favorite low-cost alternatives you can buy from Amazon without worrying:
These Apple-certified Lightning cables come in a pack of five with multiple lengths you can use anywhere in the house. Plus, they come with a durable nylon-braided cord to prevent breakage.
This power strip surge protector is made by GE, a reputable company with years of experience making quality electronics.
Toshiba’s stainless steel microwave oven is not only cheap, but performs well on multiple settings. Plus, it comes from a familiar brand name you can trust.
Ainope’s USB car charger plugs seamlessly into your car’s cigarette lighter and works with all USB-compatible smartphone cables. Plus, it features LED lights so it’s easy to plug your devices in even when it’s dark.
This handy paper shredder actually costs less than the AmazonBasics version. It also comes with a built-in wastebasket and is capable of shredding up to eight sheets of paper at once.
Now that you know your alternatives, make sure that you’re keeping an eye on reviews going forward. Even if there are only a few bad ones, it’s still worth knowing whether or not you should take your chances.
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