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Amazon threatens to banish anyone selling dodgy USB-C cables

The convenient new cables are the future -- if we don't have to worry that shoddily built ones will zap our laptops when it's time to charge our phone.

Katie Collins
Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
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USB-C cables, like this one from Griffin, are making life a little easier for all tech users.


Amazon apparently doesn't want to stand in the way of a major improvement coming to computer cables.

USB cables for charging your phone and connecting your printer to your PC are getting easier to use and more powerful with the new USB Type-C variety. But defective cables that can damage your computer's USB ports are ten-a-penny, and Amazon is cracking down on businesses selling them on its site.

The online retailing giant on Wednesday tightened regulations for selling USB Type-C cables. It added faulty USB-C cables to a list of banned items that also includes pirated DVDs and portable lasers. Those selling them risk Amazon shutting down their account and destroying any of their products stocked in Amazon fulfillment centers.

It's vindication for Google engineer Benson Leung, a Type-C fan who's painstakingly tested dozens of Type-C cables bought through Amazon and posted the results to try to help buyers steer clear of faulty models. During that testing, a shoddy USB-C cable zapped his own Pixel laptop.

USB-C connections have begun replacing today's array of USB cables as the way to provide data and power connections. They're reversible, so you don't need to figure out which end is which, and they can carry a lot more power, meaning that they'll be useful charging not just phones and tablets but also laptops, external hard drives, monitors and just about any other gadget. But the promise of USB-C will never be achieved if everyone has to fret that some noncompliant cable could fry or shut down their computer.

Reacting to the news on Google+, Leung said: "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."