According to the Reuters reports, after making misleading claims about being able to cure or avoid COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, Amazon has blocked over a million products from being sold. The retailer also claims that because of price gouging, it has withdrawn tens of thousands of offers, as retailers demand far higher prices for items like face masks as concerns about the spread of the virus.
Reports of products were removed just after a week Amazon issued a warning to its marketplace sellers not to hike the price of face masks that are in high demand amid the outbreak. The e-commerce “Fair Pricing Policy” site forbids price increases that harm consumer trust,” and it states that rates should not be “significantly higher than the recent prices offered on or off Amazon.”
An Amazon spokesperson told Reuters that “There is no place for price gouging on Amazon,”
Reuters also reported that some face masks and respirators sold on Amazon have tripled in price, or even quadrupled. One 10-pack of N95 face masks had risen in price to $128 from an average price of $41.24, whereas in one case two-pack respirators went from an average price of $6.65 to $24.99.
However, there still seem to be products listed on the Amazon that are being sold at prices much higher than normal. At the time a third-party retailer is selling this pack of 100 face masks for $56.99, while CamelCamelCamel suggests that the product was retailed at the beginning of the month for under $10.
Amazon is not the only tech site to work with businesses trying to profit from the outbreak of coronavirus. Facebook confirmed earlier this week that it is cracking down on advertisements that make false claims about the novel coronavirus or else threaten to “create a sense of urgency” by suggesting that items such as face masks are in limited supply. Facebook announced that these principles would extend to its marketplace site where users can purchase and sell items.