Amazon Receives Consumer Protection Complaint Over Lithium-Ion Batteries

Two California consumers have filed suit against Inc. alleging that lithium-ion 18650 batteries it sells directly perform worse than advertised and lack touted safety features. The Seattle, Washington-filed complaint states one claim for relief under the state’s consumer protection act and another for declaratory relief.

According to last Friday’s filing, the batteries are marketed and sold by Amazon for use in consumer products like flashlights, cameras, children’s toys, and e-cigarettes, among other things. Principally, the consumers allege that batteries they purchased from Amazon since May 3, the commencement of the class period, have lower battery capacity than advertised.

The complaint explains that capacity is one of the most important features of a battery and is measured in milli-amp hours (mAh). The higher the mAh capacity, the more usable energy a battery has.  

According to the consumers, Amazon’s batteries are often listed with capacities of 9800 mAh or higher, though the capacity of an authentic lithium-ion 18650 battery is under 3800 mAh, the filing explains. The exaggerated capacity Amazon advertises reportedly leave purchasers dissatisfied. As evidence, the complaint points to customer battery reviews posted within the class period that decry the batteries’ worse-than-advertised performance.

The lawsuit also asserts that Amazon makes misleading claims about the batteries’ safety attributes. Reportedly, the retailer often advertises the batteries as having short-circuit protection, over and undercharge protection, high and low voltage, cut-off, and venting, among other features. The filing explains that the batteries Amazon sells often fail to contain any of the advertised protections.

The filing seeks to certify a nationwide class of purchasers who want declaratory and injunctive relief to put an end to Amazon’s purported misrepresentations. The plaintiff and putative class, represented by Cotchett, Pitre & Mccarthy LLP, also seek their attorneys’ fees and costs, as well as other relief the court deems appropriate.