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.