News 10NBC Investigates: Amazon warning customers about questionable eclipse glasses

Amazon issues warning of potentially unsafe eclipse glasses

Amazon issues warning of potentially unsafe eclipse glasses

If you purchased your solar eclipse glasses online, you may want to go check your email.  News10NBC has heard from a number of people who received a notification from Amazon on Friday letting them know that the glasses they bought may not be safe for viewing the eclipse and they shouldn’t be used on Monday.

The email reads in part: “Dear Amazon Customer, We write to notify you of a potential safety concern with a product that you purchased on Affected Product: Biniki Solar Eclipse Glasses AAS Approved 2024 – CE & ISO Certified Safe Shades for Direct Sun Viewing (6 Packs).  The product listed above was not included in the American Astronomical Society’s list of safe suppliers of solar eclipse viewers and filters and therefore may not be safe for viewing a solar eclipse. If you still have this product, out of an abundance of caution, we recommend you not use it for the upcoming eclipse on April 8, and review the following information for more details, including how to view a solar eclipse safely and how to identify unsafe eclipse glasses.  Refunds will be issued to the original payment method used for the purchase, or if the original payment method is no longer available, we will apply an Amazon Gift Card to your account. You do not need to return this product to receive the refund … If you made this purchase for someone else, please notify the recipient immediately and provide them with the information.”

In recent days, consumer protection agencies have warned about an increase in counterfeit eclipse glasses.  At least one factory in China has been identified as producing counterfeit glasses printed with the name and address of a legitimate factory, so it can be difficult to know whether what you’re getting is legitimate. 

The American Astronomical Society has recently compiled a list of vendors that it has vetted to ensure the glasses they’re producing are safe.  Amazon, it appears, is cross-referencing that list with its sellers. 

Carol Schulz lives in Penfield and got the email on Friday. “My cousin had ordered them from Amazon and was distributing them to the whole family,” she says. “You don’t have to return them to Amazon; you just have to let them know and they’ll refund you and you can order other ones but I don’t know that I’d be too keen on doing that either at this point.”

She’s not worried about the money. “I mean it’s pretty dangerous,” she says. “We were just saying how many people will have those glasses and not know and then could look up and damage their eyes.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for Amazon tells News10NBC, “In advance of the solar eclipse on April 8, we proactively notified and provided refunds to customers who purchased solar eclipse glasses identified as potentially not sourced from a supplier included in the American Astronomical Society’s (AAS) approved list. While we are not aware of any particular products that are unsafe, we took this action out of an abundance of caution. We continuously monitor our store for non-compliant products, and when we discover a product was undetected by our proactive checks, we address the issue immediately and refine our controls. If customers have concerns about an item they’ve purchased, we encourage them to contact our Customer Service directly so we can address any questions they may have. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused our customers.”

To ensure your glasses are legit, put them on inside and look around. You shouldn’t be able to see anything through the glasses aside from very bright lights. 

The American Astronomical Society suggests you then take them outside on a sunny day, put them on and look around.  You still shouldn’t see anything through the glasses except perhaps the sun’s reflection off a shiny surface or puddle and it should be very faint.