Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has said that it has dropped hundreds of products from the listing on its eCommerce site and is planning to take legal action against the sellers who resorted to price gouging amid the looming Coronavirus threat. The company is still hunting down the sellers who increased prices on products like surgical face masks and hand sanitizers as Coronavirus continues to expand its reach.
Amazon took this action after the US Senator Edward J. Markey wrote a letter to the CEO of the company, Jeff Bezos, warning the latter about the price gouging situation and the action that Amazon should take. In its response, Brian Huseman, the Vice President of Amazon Public Policy, wrote that the company has already started discussions with state attorneys general and plans to take legal action against such worst offenders.
Amazon Takes Down Products Making False Claims
Apart from taking down products like sanitizers and face masks, Amazon has also deleted millions of product listings that allegedly made false claims about curing COVID-19. The eCommerce giant has also suspended accounts of thousands of sellers who were engaged in price gouging.
In its letter, Amazon said, “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.” The letter further says that such attempts of price gouging are unconscionable. Before taking this action, Amazon issued a warning to the sellers on February 26. But when most of the sellers continued with their unfair practice of price gouging, the American multinational company decided to prosecute such sellers.
Amazon’s competitor eBay has already banned the sale of hand sanitizers and face masks amid price gouging issues. Bob Ferguson, the Washington Attorney General, has also warned all the stores in the country against hiking prices unfairly and said that his administration has already started making formal investigations into this matter.
China, which has been the worst hit by the Coronavirus outbreak, is also facing price gouging issues, and the officials have started looking into the matter. Italy, which is the hardest-hit European country, is also battling price hiking problems. The Italian authorities have started investigating the price hike in surgical masks.