Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon said it has halted seller accounts in the thousands for overcharging. The eCommerce marketplace operator said it has taken down much more than 500,000 offers and put a hold on over 3,900 U.S. selling accounts for going against its fair pricing rules, Bloomberg reported.
There has been extremely high demand for toilet paper, hand sanitizer and bleach wipes, among other products, as the COVID-19 outbreak worsened domestically. Individuals have tried to sell cleaning items, as well as other products, at higher than normal prices on eBay, Amazon and other platforms.
Amazon said it put into place a specific team to discover and probe “unfairly priced” high-demand items like hand sanitizer and protective masks.
The eCommerce retailer said in a statement, “We are also proactively sharing information with state attorneys general and federal regulators about sellers we suspect have engaged in egregious price gouging of products related to the COVID-19 crisis.”
Amazon also noted, “We strongly support legislative efforts to ensure unreasonably excessive price increases are illegal during this and other national crises.”
As previously reported, Amazon took down over 1 million products related to the coronavirus that it deemed to have spurious claims. Dharmesh Mehta, Amazon’s vice president of Worldwide Customer Trust, said there were tens of thousands of other items aiming to price-gouge shoppers. Mehta per past reports said the situation is “rapidly evolving,” and the firm is remaining alert against frauds.
Third-party sellers on platforms such as Amazon have been criticized for price-gouging on products such as Purell hand sanitizer, which was sold for $100 in some cases.
In separate news, eBay was barring face masks and hand sanitizer from its online shopping website per a report on March 6. The decision reportedly only applied to U.S. listings and was arrived at due to concerns that inflated prices could go against legislation on price gouging.
The firm provided sellers with a notice, saying it was stopping new listings of hand sanitizer, surgical masks and disinfecting wipes “effectively immediately.”