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Amazon to shoddy USB-C cable sellers: 'You're banned'

Amazon says, 'no more' to the sale of non-compliant USB-C cables that can destroy your computer.

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The higher complexity of USB-C cables means non-compliant products pose a risk to devices.

Image: Josh Miller/CNET

As Google engineer Benson Leung recently demonstrated, shoddily made USB-C cables available on Amazon can have disastrous consequences for a computer that uses them.

It appears Amazon has been taking notice of Leung's efforts, which involved reviewing on Amazon several USB-C cables from different brands, with an eye on compliance with USB standard specifications.

Leung reported on Tuesday that the e-commerce giant recently added a new line to its listings policy to prohibit the sale of "any USB-C™ (or USB Type-C™) cable or adapter product that is not compliant with standard specifications issued by USB Implementers Forum Inc (USB-IF)".

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USB-IF in February announced a new USB-C compliance drive, calling on cable and device makers to submit their products to the organization for testing.

USB Type-C combined with USB Power Delivery and SuperSpeed promises faster charging and high data-transfer speeds. However, USB-IF warned that the higher complexity of these cables means non-compliant products pose a risk.

Indeed, as Leung's experiment showed, one shoddy cable bought on Amazon fried his Chromebook Pixel 2.

Referring to Amazon's policy update, Leung said: "It means that cable manufacturers who sell poorly-made or intentionally-deceptive [USB Type-C] cables and adapters are banned from Amazon, officially."

Still, Amazon's policy will only be as good its enforcement. Given the vastness of Amazon's inventory, users will probably still need to be watchful for poorly-made cables and report any they find.

"Really great news, 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," Leung said.

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