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Amazon bans the sale of rogue USB-C cables

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There’s good news in the fight against rogue USB-C cables, some of which have caused major problems with smartphones and laptops, after Amazon tightened the regulations around the type of cables that it sells.

The online retail giant has added non-compliant USB-C cables to its list of items prohibited for sale on its website, which already includes pirated DVDs and non-compliant electrical products. The new note added to Amazon’s page reads as follows:

Any USB-C™ (or USB Type-C™) cable or adapter product that is not compliant with standard specifications issued by “USB Implementers Forum Inc.”

In other words, at last, non-compliant USB-C cables, which can damage or shut down a device entirely, will be banned from sale on Amazon. This is a policy update though, and Amazon will need to police its seller community and shut down any who continue to offer dodgy cables.

This small but important update was spotted by Benson Leung, the Google engineer who has raised awareness of the dangers of faulty cabling after a USB-C destroyed his Pixel. Leung was tasked with testing USB-C cable compatibility with the Pixel and, among many things, he identified a flaw within the OnePlus type C charging cable and has generally championed increased vetting and standards.

USB-C is good news for consumers and companies alike because it helps standardize the very different kinds of ports and adaptors that tech firms have traditionally used for their products. But low quality and cheap cables have flooded the market, causing more harm than good by frying laptops and phones so that they can’t be used again. Finally, it seems that major distributors like Amazon are waking up to the issue and clamping down, but there’s plenty more to be done as Leung noted.

This is “really great news,” he said of the Amazon update, “but we all have to continue to be vigilant and call out any bad products we find on Amazon and other stores (both online and brick and mortar) as we find them.”