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Amazon Bans Dangerous USB Type-C Cables

The newest USB plug standard, Type-C, was very exciting when its reversible connectors were revealed. The cables can charge your laptops and phones, and transfer data rapidly enough to send 4K video to monitors.

Sadly, it turns out that not all USB Type-C cables are created equal, and there have been reports of substandard cables destroying hardware. Amazon now wants to protect you from this risky technology by tightening restrictions on the sale of cables and adapters. 

MORE: How to Buy USB Type-C Cables That Won't Fry Your Gadgets

Amazon has added non-compliant USB Type-C cables to its list of prohibited items. Only those cables that are certified by the USB Implementers Forum will remain on the site. To be certified, the packaging should carry one of the logos in the graphic above. 

Since these logos aren't displayed on Amazon's product pages, the USB IF has a list of certified cables, that you can check. If you end up with a faulty cable, report the product to Amazon to get it taken down. 

The scourge of bad cables was discovered by a Google software engineer, Benson Leung, who sacrificed his Google Pixel on the alter of testing every cable he could get his hands on. His testing revealed that 30 percent of third-party USB Type-C cables do not meet USB-IF standards. The Verge's Dieter Bohn came forward a couple days later to report that he had fried his MacBook Air because a bad cable was drawing too much power to charge his Nexus 6P. 

Apple's MacBook, Google's Pixel C, and the latest Nexus phones all use USB Type-C to charge. Apple's own cables are designed to shut down if more power is flowing through the cable than it should be. But even Apple once had a problem with its own cables, causing the computer giant to recall cables that suffered from a "design issue."