Amazon Bans Sale of Potentially Dangerous USB-C Cables

Amazon has tightened restrictions on the sale of USB-C cables and adapters on its online store in an effort to protect customers from risky substandard products (via The Verge).

The online retailer added non-compliant USB-C cables to its list of prohibited items, following a flood of potentially damaging third-party cables onto the market. The new note on Amazon's page of undesirables prohibits "any USB-C™ (or USB Type-C™) cable or adapter product that is not compliant with standard specifications issued by 'USB Implementers Forum Inc.'"

The update was spotted by Google engineer Benson Leung, who has been testing USB-C cables sold by Amazon in an effort to highlight the risks of non-compliant products. Leung was spurred into action after a USB-C charging cable he bought destroyed a Chromebook Pixel he was working on in compatibility tests.

USB-C MacBook
Apple introduced the USB-C standard to its Mac range with the release of the 12-inch Retina MacBook. The new standard allows charging, data transfer, and video over a single connector. As a result, USB-C cables are capable of carrying a lot more power than traditional USB connectors, making faulty units a risk to computers and power supplies, and potentially a fire hazard.

Apple states in a support document that the 12-inch MacBook will charge from USB-C power adapters not manufactured by Apple if they adhere to the USB Power Delivery specification. Based on Leung's extensive testing, 30 percent of third-party USB-C cables currently available do not meet USB-IF standards. Apple's USB-C ports are designed to shut down if a larger-than-expected amount of power is detected flowing through cables, however Amazon's ban should mean cables that can damage or shut down a device will no longer be offered through the site.

Apple suffered its own USB-C problems when a "design issue" in charging cables shipped with certain Retina MacBooks failed to supply sufficient charge when connected to a power adapter. Apple is providing new, redesigned USB-C charge cables to MacBook owners with faulty cables at no cost.

Related Roundup: Retina MacBook
Tags: amazon.com, USB-C
Buyer's Guide: MacBook (Buy Now)


Top Rated Comments

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17 weeks ago

Buy Apple cables only people, until Apple do some sort of 'MFI' for USB-C or something.


Why?
This is NOT about Apple, this is about certified USB-C cables, if you buy a certified USB-C cable from ANY manufacturer you're good to go.
Rating: 9 Votes
Avatar
17 weeks ago

Buy Apple cables only people, until Apple do some sort of 'MFI' for USB-C or something.


Nonsense. USB-C needs no MFI. Or, Apple tax. Be an educated consumer before you post bollocks.

USB-C is a mechanical specification that must comply with the USB-IF specification for power delivery. Independently of its mechanical characteristics for power delivery, USB-C cables are data-rated to either USB 3.1 (10 Gbps nominal), USB 3.0 (5Gbps nominal), and of course legacy USB 2.0.

My suggestion: Buy cables from monoprice.com. Their select series cables are the bees knees at great price. (No links with them, just a happy customer.)
Rating: 6 Votes
Avatar
17 weeks ago

Until such time as said cable destroys your $1200+ laptop, and Apple shrugs and says "where'd you get that cable?".
The smartass forum posters who brag about buying cables for $0.20 instead of $20 will not turn up to help you when it happens either.


Are you helping them pay for the $20 cable that's worth $0.20? As they noted, buy certified cables. Just doesn't have to be certified by Apple. Also, that language isn't necessary.
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
17 weeks ago

Until such time as said cable destroys your $1200+ laptop, and Apple shrugs and says "where'd you get that cable?".
The smartass forum posters who brag about buying cables for $0.20 instead of $20 will not turn up to help you when it happens either.

He specifically recommended CERTIFIED cables.
Speaking of cable quality, Apple is far from the golden standard.

I'd rather get a well built (maybe less beautiful) third party cable that is certified and sturdy.
Probably at the same price, maybe less, but at least it's safe and doesn't break after 6-12 months.

Glassed Silver:mac
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
17 weeks ago

Buy Apple cables only people, until Apple do some sort of 'MFI' for USB-C or something.


This is not about Apple cables or cables for Apple laptops. Its about genuine certified USB-C cables used to power other laptops as well as Apple laptops.
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
17 weeks ago

Buy Apple cables only people, until Apple do some sort of 'MFI' for USB-C or something.


Yeah i never understood why people choose to use 3rd party cables for an apple device, get the cable from apple. cheaping out on 3rd party cables that could damage your device or simply not work makes no sense, the cables from apple work and are covered. I don't even use the ones that came with the car charger from the 3rd parties too many issues or "this cable is not compatible"


We aren't talking about knockoff Apple lightning cables. We are talking about the new USB cables, which are an industry-wide standard.

For example nobody's going to buy a USB hard drive/Chromebook/Mouse/printer/etc., throw away the USB cable, and then get an Apple-branded USB cable for their non-Apple device. It's absurd.
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
17 weeks ago

I'm sorry, but it has to be said...USB-C is a disaster.

Well, yeah, I guess so if you think every thread needs a blatantly foolish post. Thanks for taking care of that for us.
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
17 weeks ago

Buy Apple cables only people, until Apple do some sort of 'MFI' for USB-C or something.

The article even states that Apple cable is having problems. The whole point of the article is to get a cable that is compliant to the standard of USBIFI. Just like buying MFI cables approved by Apple. They're actually cheaper and sometimes more durable than Apple's.
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
17 weeks ago

I'm sorry, but it has to be said...USB-C is a disaster.

No way. It's amazing that everything has the potential to use one port... It would just be nice if the MacBook had two of them instead of one. However, that is an Apple design issue, not an inherent problem with USB-C.
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
17 weeks ago

Why?
This is NOT about Apple, this is about certified USB-C cables, if you buy a certified USB-C cable from ANY manufacturer you're good to go.


I wouldn't go around telling people to only buy Apple cables, however customers would be wise to buy only from trusted sources. Belkin and Amazon Basics are two brands that come to mind.

Even with this policy in place, does Amazon actually check every cable in its store? Or is there still the possibility that manufactures and resellers will sneak them in?
Rating: 1 Votes
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