eBay sold illegal devices, products containing restricted chemicals, says lawsuit


eBay sold illegal devices that defeat emission controls on cars, unlawful pesticides, and prohibited products with restricted chemicals, alleges a lawsuit filed by the Justice Department.

The complaint alleges that eBay violated The Clean Air Act (CAA), because it “sold, offered for sale or caused the sale” of more than 343,000 aftermarket defeat devices, which override motor vehicle emission controls.

According to the complaint, distributing such products harms public health and impedes efforts by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to attain air quality standards, as aftermarket defeat devices significantly increase pollution emissions – including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and nonmethane hydrocarbons.

“Laws that prohibit selling products that can severely harm human health and the environment apply to e-commerce retailers like eBay just as they do to brick-and-mortar stores,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD).

“We are committed to preventing the unlawful sale and distribution of emissions-defeating devices and dangerous chemicals that, if used improperly, can lead to dire consequences for individuals and communities,”

stated Kim.

The complaint was filed on behalf of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on September 27th.

Selling hazardous chemicals

The complaint also alleges that eBay distributed at least 23,000 unregistered or restricted products, such as highly toxic pesticides banned in the US. Furthermore, the platform sold fake products against the SARS-CoV-2 virus and over 5,600 prohibited items containing the hazardous substance methylene chloride.

“The complaint filed today demonstrates that EPA will hold online retailers responsible for the unlawful sale of products on their websites that can harm consumers and the environment,” said Assistant Administrator David M. Uhlmann of the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.


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