On March 13, 2018, Amazon issued a recall for 260,000 units of their AmazonBasics portable power banks because the power bank’s battery can overheat and ignite, posing fire and burn hazards.
Amazon has received over 50 reports of the portable power banks overheating in the United States, including at least one report of chemical burns due to contact with battery acid and four reports of property damage.
The product was sold on Amazon.com, Amazon Bookstores and Amazon Pop-Up Stores from December, 2014 through July, 2017. The recall involves six versions of AmazonBasics’ portable lithium-ion battery chargers/power banks, including:
- 16,100 mAh
- 10,000 mAh
- 5,600 mAh
- 2,000 mAh with micro USB cable
- 3,000 mAh
- 3,000 mAh with USB micro cable
The rubberized or metallic portable power banks are black and rectangular and the AmazonBasics logo is printed on the front of the unit. Product ID numbers B00LRK8EVO, B00LRK8HJ8, B00LRK8I7O, B00LRK8IV0, B00LRK8JDC or B00ZQ4JQAA are printed on the back of the units.
These six models are sold under the Amazon brand, a result of private labeling—Amazon placed their name on the product sent direct from the manufacturer in China. These power banks were built by Guoguang Electric Company Ltd., though Amazon is still liable for the damages they may cause.
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated product liability lawyer and burn accident representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of consumer product liability and product defect cases.
The Dangers of Lithium Battery Products
Although lithium batteries are now used in thousands of personal electronic consumer products, the batteries have been known to periodically catch fire, explode, and lead to serious burn injuries to consumers.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there have been hundreds of product recalls for defective lithium-ion battery-operated devices and battery packs in the last 15 years. Every recall notes a burn and fire hazard, as does the AmazonBasics recall.
Even though every lithium-ion battery-powered device has an inherent risk of explosion, there are ways consumers can mitigate the risks, including the following:
- Refrain from using any recalled lithium battery product, including the AmazonBasics portable power banks.
- Check products for third-party safety certifications such as the UL Certified Mark and the ETL Listed Mark on the packaging or manual.
- Charge devices when you are present and do not leave battery packs charging while you are sleeping. Only keep electronics plugged in until they reach full charge.
- Keep charging batteries away from flammable objects.
- Monitor the heat of the device. If it feels extremely hot, remove it from a power source and turn off.
Defective Portable Power Banks
If you have suffered an injury due to a fire or explosion involving an Amazon battery-powered device, it is important to preserve the evidence and all product parts. Take photos of the incident and contact a product liability lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can assist in evaluating the root cause of the accident.
To build a compelling case after an accident involving a defective power bank, there must be evidence that the design of the battery was defective, a manufacturing defect existed, or the manufacturer was negligent in marketing the product.
The Lyon Firm works with design engineers and battery experts to determine the primary cause of the failure to prove culpability. Compensation may be awarded for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, as well as punitive damages against the manufacturer for a disregard for the safety of consumers.