Amazon suspends almost 4000 sellers for overcharging

Marco Green
March 26, 2020

The letters listed examples, including a 2-liter bottle of hand sanitizer being sold for $250 on Craigslist; a $40 8-oz. bottle on Facebook Marketplace; and face masks being sold for $50 on eBay.

According to the Attorney General's office, the highest consumer inquiry county by county of consumers reporting alleged price gouging are Broward, Miami-Dade, West Palm and Hillsborough.

"We are issuing regular reminders to our sellers about these longstanding policies, and we are enforcing them aggressively to protect our customers", the company wrote.

Shapiro and his office have also gone after brick-and-mortar stores in Pennsylvania for price gouging during the pandemic, and have fielded thousands of complaints.

"Even new protections by your company including heightened monitoring, bans on certain advertisements, and bans on selling certain items, have failed to remove unconscionably priced critical supplies", the letter said.

On Monday, Amazon reiterated in a blog post that "it has zero tolerance for price gouging" and that it has already removed more than 500,000 listings because of coronavirus-based price gouging and suspended more than 3,900 US selling accounts for violating fair pricing policies. "These companies form the backbone of online retail and have an obligation to stop illegal price gouging now and put strong practices into place to stop it from happening in the future".

"Online resellers have built advanced platforms and now it's time to take that talent and help us beat COVID-19 by ensuring ready access to essential goods at fair prices", said Attorney General Shapiro.

Price gouging laws vary across the USA, but they generally go after retailers and wholesalers for unfair markups, particularly during emergencies. Many states give some flexibility for prices to go up in response to shortages and hoarding behavior, typically by around 10% to 30% over prices in earlier months.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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