Tech

Amazon Decides It’s Better to Bathe in a Deluge of Class-Action Lawsuits

By Bill Toulas / June 2, 2021

After Amazon faced 75,000 arbitration demands and saw no prospect of the situation turning the other way around, it decided that it would be better to just let everyone launch class-actions against it and deal with them in court. This is proof that Amazon has done so badly in resolving disputes or preventing their creation in unmanageable numbers in the first place, so from a financial and purely mathematical perspective, it would be preferable to cover whatever damage compensations the court judges decide to award.

One notable case of the class-action lawsuits that have already been submitted against Amazon is a complaint that alleges Amazon stored recordings of user conversations captured through the Echo Dot smart speaker and kept them in its cloud indefinitely. The complaint adds that these recordings remained there even when users actively tried to delete them, which constitutes a severe violation of the privacy terms agreed between the company and the customers.

Amazon changed the relevant section about “Disputes” of this kind on May 3, 2021, removing the provision to reimburse auditors fees for claims under $10,000, and replacing it with the following:

Any dispute or claim relating in any way to your use of any Amazon Service will be adjudicated in the state or Federal courts in King County, Washington, and you consent to exclusive jurisdiction and venue in these courts. We each waive any right to a jury trial.

The Echo recordings, which took huge proportions because they concerned minors, were only the wake-up blow for Amazon. The e-commerce and consumer tech products giant has realized that letting groups launch class-actions is better than having to deal with mass arbitrations. As such, we expect to see a lot more legal challenges of this kind moving forward.

Some experts in the field say that next in line are Amazon’s own employees who have been complaining about payment and discrimination, similar to what we saw with Google recently. Amazon’s legal team must have predicted the deluge that’s coming on them, though, and they know what they’ll be called to face in the near future.



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