Amazon Is Banning Cheap, Unsafe USB-C Cables

USB-seeing you, dodgy cables
USB-seeing you, dodgy cables

A cheap USB-C cable can fry your phone or computer. So it’s nice to see that Amazon is taking action, clamping down on the sale of poor-quality USB-C cables that don’t make the grade.


Amazon has added “non-compliant” USB-C cables to its list of items that are prohibited for sale on its site, as TechCrunch reports. They join products like DVD duplicators, dangerous extension cords, and devices where serial numbers have been removed. Amazon explains that it will no longer permit 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.”

Google’s Benson Leung demonstrated earlier this year just how badly made some USB-C cables are. Eventually he found one cable—which featured some dubious soldering and even missed out some wires—that destroyed all his testing equipment.

The problem stems from cables that feature a USB Type-C connection at one end and a USB Type-A connection—the big rectangular one on your pen drive or whatever—at the other. Most Type-A connectors don’t handle the 3 amps that USB-C can deliver unless they’re specifically built to—but it’s hard to discern if they’ve been properly engineered without tearing one apart.

Mercifully, Amazon’s new rule means it’s now a bit less of an issue.

[Amazon via TechCrunch]


Contributing Editor at Gizmodo. An ex-engineer writing about science and technology.


Yes, I like Jukes

I’m very happy about this, but hopefully it wont be an issue for too much longer. As more and more devices make the jump to USB-C, we will start to see USB-A, micro-USB, and possibly even lightning start to disappear. Everything will have USB-C and adapters/adapter cables will not be necessary.

It will also allow more people to take full advantage of the multi-directional charging abilities of USB-C and the higher throughput of a USB-C to USB-C cable. I still find it amazing that my Nexus 6P can go from 1% battery life to 100% in less than 30 minutes (when charging using a C to C cable from either a USB-C power brick or even a USB-C external battery; in my case the Anker PowerCore+ 21000mah).