The antitrust watchdog in Italy has opened an investigation into Amazon and eBay over allegations that the companies upped the prices of things like hand sanitizers amid the ongoing coronavirus public health battle, according to a report by Reuters.
The antitrust authority said it is looking into the companies’ subsidiaries in both Italy and Europe, due to a sharp uptick of prices for safety and cleaning items, like masks and disinfectants.
The authority will also look into advertisements of certain products that have misleading claims about helping to fight the virus.
The coronavirus has almost completely shut Italy down. There have been over 1,000 deaths and a country-wide lockdown.
On Wednesday (March 11), the government in Italy ordered that all retailers except pharmacies and grocery stores should close. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said cafes and restaurants were considered non-essential and should remain closed during the outbreak. Post offices, banks and factories, as well as transportation services, will remain open.
Makers of wine, cheese, leather shoes and other crafts are all struggling to stay afloat amid a drop in demand. The country’s industrial center, Lombardy, is especially affected.
Antonio Croce, a Gorgonzola maker, was forced to stop production because workers lived past the “red zone” and weren’t allowed to travel to the factory. Croce does have a permit to mail the cheese, however.
He also has cheese that is in the process of turning into gorgonzola.
“With new production stopped, we are going to have a period in 60 to 80 days when we won’t have any product to sell,” Croce said. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”
Wine making has also been hit hard in the area of San Colombano del Lambro. Winemaker Antonio Panigada said fortunately for his company, it isn’t the busy time of the year.