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  4.  » It’s “buyer beware” out there when it comes to online shopping

Online shopping is more important to Americans than ever, but consumer groups are sounding the alarm about dangerous, defective and counterfeit goods that could put you and your family at risk.

What problems are being seen with products bought online?

Given that this is the holiday season when people are actively shopping for toys, electronics and other gifts, one of the biggest worries is that there will soon be a flood of accidents related to counterfeit items and products that are already banned or recalled.

Consumer groups have said that online retailers like Amazon routinely evade liability for fake and defective goods because they serve as platforms for third-party sellers. Consumers are urged to look carefully at where the items they buy are coming from and only purchase from reputable, trusted sellers.

Other items, too, can be problematic. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned consumers away from a variety of weight loss and male enhancement products because a recent study indicated that 80% of the items sold on eBay and Amazon contained active pharmaceutical ingredients that were not on the label.

The potential for serious, even catastrophic, injuries due to defective goods is serious. Lithium batteries have been known to explode, electronics can catch fire, toys can break and become choking hazards and consumable items can make people very sick.

What can you do if you have been seriously injured by a defective product?

Product liability laws can be very complicated when you’re dealing with goods that were purchased online, and the law is constantly evolving. Talk to an advocate who can help you understand your legal options.