Tech Industry

Amazon UK tried to airmail danger. Now it's paying the price

An internal review process wrongly labeled lithium batteries and flammable aerosols as non-dangerous and safe for airmail. Now, the online retailer's is getting slapped with a fine of £65,000, or about $84,000.

HEMEL HEMPSTEAD, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 25: The Amazon Fulfilment Centre prepares for Black Friday on November 25, 2015 in Hemel Hempstead, England. Black Friday has now overtaken Cyber Monday as's busiest day with 5.5million items sold on the day last year. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
Jeff Spicer, Getty Images

You know those restrictions about what you can and cannot fly with that you see when you're going though airport security? Those also apply to online mega-retailers like Amazon, who deliver countless goods via airmail each day.

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Now, the Guardian reports that after being found guilty of failing to heed those kinds of restrictions, Amazon UK is facing a £65,000 ($84,300) fine from the Civil Aviation Authority following a complaint from the Royal Mail.

The dangerous goods in question: flammable aerosols and lithium ion batteries, which the CAA claims Amazon wrongly labeled as non-dangerous and safe for airmailing due to "systemic failure," including offenses that occurred after the retail giant knew it was being investigated.

In addition to the £65,000 fine, the CAA is ordering Amazon UK to pay £60,000 in prosecution costs, for a total bill of £125,000 (a little over $160,000, or about AU$215,000).

An Amazon representative said safety of the public, its customers, employees and partners is "an absolute priority," but declined to address the UK charges.

"We ship millions of products every week and are confident in the sophisticated technologies and processes we have developed to detect potential shipping hazards. We are constantly working to further improve and will continue to work with the CAA in this area."

Updated at 9:46 a.m. PT with comment from Amazon.