Amazon officially bans bad USB Type C cables, but you still need to be careful

by: Bogdan PetrovanMarch 30, 2016
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Amazon is putting the kibosh on non-standard USB Type C accessories.

That means that it should be safer, and simpler, to buy cables, adapters, or chargers for your Type C device, be it smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

Non-standard USB Type C are now on the list of items that Amazon prohibits on its platform, along with cell phone jammers, laser pointers, and – controversially – Chromecasts and other streaming devices competing with Amazon’s own Fire TV products.

The list explicitly bans “Any USB-C™ (or USB Type-C™) cable or adapter product that is not compliant with standard specifications issued by USB Implementers Forum Inc.”

Why is this important? Because a faulty USB Type C can ruin your expensive gadget. Case in point, Benson Leung, the Google engineer who mounted a personal crusade against faulty Type C accessories, had his $1500 Chromebook Pixel fried while testing cables bought from Amazon.

While not every non-standard cable will fry your device, Amazon’s move to ban the entire class is welcome. That said, you should still pay attention when purchasing Type C cables (or any accessory for the matter) from Amazon. It’s not clear how the retailer enforces this new rule and faulty products may still slip through.

Unfortunately, it’s not simple to weed out the bad cables – that’s why even electrical engineers like Leung can end up destroying their laptops. Your best option is to stick with cables from your phone’s manufacturer, which are guaranteed to work well with your device. Next, look for well-reviewed products from brand names. Look for the USB-IF Certified marking, which is only awarded to standard-complied products.

Here’s a closer look at the whole USB Type C issue with more tips on how to stay safe.

  • Mister Pyrrhuloxia

    Let’s all say a big thank you to Benson Leung for his hard work.

  • That One Guy

    If type C is this big of a risk then we should stick with micro usb cables. I do not want my phone blowing up.

  • WhoaManWtF

    Funny how many people complained that the S7 uses micro, this is a huge reason right here I bet. Samsung knows a ton of people will go to amazon to find cheap backup cables since they would need all new ones and end up causing issues, for now it was not worth the headache to be able to plug in either direction.