Amazon agreed to pay $2.5 million and to institute a series of reforms to prevent the unlicensed sales of regulated pesticides on its online marketplace in Washington state under a settlement with Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
It’s the latest case to raise the question of whether Amazon is liable for products sold by third-party merchants — something the company has steadfastly sought to avoid in other circumstances.
“Amazon sold these regulated pesticides on its site without a license, and without verifying the licenses of Restricted Use Pesticide purchasers, or collecting other legally required information, like the intended use of the pesticide,” the AG’s office said in a press release announcing the settlement. “Because of Amazon’s actions, there is no record of how or where the dangerous pesticides were used.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has pursued similar actions against Amazon in the past, including a $1.2 million settlement in 2018, as noted by The Seattle Times in its coverage of the latest case.
“Amazon is a powerful corporation — but it’s not above the law,” Ferguson said in a statement. “I will continue to serve as an independent watchdog to protect consumers and our environment, and ensure this major Washington company complies with the law.”
This week’s settlement followed “several months of discussion” with the AG’s office “related to whether Amazon and our third-party selling partners had obtained the proper licenses for the sale of certain pesticides within the state,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement to GeekWire on Tuesday morning.
The spokesperson added, “There are no allegations of customer or environmental harm related to these pesticides. Amazon acted promptly upon first contact by the Attorney General’s Office about this issue, and we will continue to partner with the Attorney General’s Office and other relevant agencies to remain in compliance.”
In a press release announcing the settlement, the AG’s office said Amazon “is required to obtain a license in the future if it restarts sales of these regulated pesticides.” The AG’s office says the agreement also requires Amazon to ensure that third-party sellers have applicable licenses.
Post updated to clarify the terms of the settlement.
See the full text of the consent decree below.