As the world continues to struggle with the challenges the rapid spread of Coronavirus has brought up, it is a profit-making time for some online marketers. The US Senator Ed Markey slammed Amazon.com, Inc.(NASDAQ:AMZN) over Coronavirus price gouging and criticized the company’s dull response towards his appeal. Markey has accepted that the giant eCommerce site has been removing the listings of marketers who have unfairly raised prices following the outbreak. However, he believes that the response still leaves a lot of scope for improvement.
Lack Of Transparency Affecting Product Pricing
With the threat of Coronavirus looming globally, the demand for many products like face masks and sanitizer has gone up and so has the prices of these products. The lack of transparency in the pricing has made it difficult to curb the unfair spike in the rates of such products that are suddenly in huge demand. The process that the third-party online marketplace adopts for detecting such spikes takes a lot of time and hence the reason for delayed action.
Markey in his letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, wrote, “Last week, Amazon took appropriate first steps in response to this price gouging when it announced it had removed ‘tens of thousands’ of listings and reiterated that sellers on its platform must comply with its Fair Price Policy.” However, the Senator believes that Amazon is still far behind as the unfair practice of price gouging continues to take place on its site.
Third-party Sellers Behind Price Raise
The first activity related to price gouging was spotted when COVID-19 started spreading across the globe. Since the virus leads to respiratory illness, the demand for popular safety and health products such as sanitizers and face- masks escalated within no time. The 3M face masks and Purell hand sanitizer is in top demand, which is why their prices have elevated very fast in the last week.
Surprisingly producers and manufacturers of these products are not behind the price hike. Rather all this unfair trade practice has been followed by third-party resellers breaching the Fair Pricing Policy of Amazon. Simultaneously, the shipping costs have also been increased, making these products way more costly than their original reasonable pricing.