Technology News

Hookah from Amazon concerns Fresno father

Monday, January 02, 2012

When the packages for his son kept coming after Christmas, Mike Letson got curious.

"My son, who is 14 years old, started receiving packages in the mail from amazon.com, and being a concerned father I wanted to know what was in the package," Letson said.

When the boy opened the packages, Mike was surprised, shocked and angry.

They contained parts to a hookah, which is a Middle Eastern water pipe, for tobacco smoking.

It's often done socially, at so-called hookah bars.

Looking at his son's online order, Letson discovered the rest of the pipe and some flavored tobacco was on the way.

Selling tobacco, or tobacco paraphernalia, like a hookah, to minors online is against California law.

Amazon requires customers under 18 to have parental permission, but Mike's son was able to go online and place his order with a Visa gift card he'd received for Christmas.

Mike contacted Amazon.com and was not satisfied with their response.

"Their solution is, 'we're sorry, we'll send you a return label to ship it back to us'," Letson said.

He thinks all parents should be worried.

"If they are shipping this stuff to minors, what else are they shipping to minors, if they are not checking the age appropriateness," he said.

California law requires online tobacco sellers to verify the age of the purchaser.

We contacted the Texas company that shipped the stuff and they told us it was Amazon's responsibility.

Mike wants the Fresno Police Department and the Fresno County District Attorney to get involved. In the meantime, he's dealing with his son.

"He's on lock down, he's grounded indefinitely," Letson said.

State law allows local authorities to file charges in cases like this both against the seller and the buyer.

We contacted Amazon's media representative asking for a comment but have not received a response.

(Copyright ©2014 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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amazon, fresno, fresno county, technology news, gene haagenson
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