Amazon Pulls Down 530,000 Products Over Investigations Into Sellers Exploiting Coronavirus Fears
March. 07, 2020
Amazon is working with state attorneys general to help them identify and prosecute third-party sellers for taking advantage of customers' fears surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, the company announced Friday.
In a letter to U.S. Senator Edward Markey, Amazon said it has removed more than 530,000 products over price-gouging concerns and suspended 2,500 seller accounts in the US alone in addition to removing "millions" of products that make unsupported claims about their ability to fight coronavirus. The company also said it is helping several state attorneys general prosecute the worst offenders.
"There is no place for price gouging on Amazon, and we will not tolerate attempts by bad actors to artificially raise prices on basic need products during a global health crisis," Amazon said in the letter.
As demand surged on the site for items like hand sanitizer and face masks, many third-party sellers began dramatically raising prices, a practice known as price gouging that is illegal in many states. Bottles of Purell that normally sell for around $10 were at one point listed for as high as $600 .
Markey sent a letter to Amazon earlier this week calling on the company to stop third-party sellers from ramping up prices for such items as people seek to protect themselves from the coronavirus.
Amazon said in its response that it is continuing to enforce its existing fair pricing policy, which prohibits excessively high prices for products or shipping, using both automated and manual review processes.