Online marketplaces eBay and Amazon are on the verge of losing the battle against unscrupulous marketers who use their platforms seeking to take advantage of the Coronavirus pandemic. As the countries close their borders and the cities are locked out, panic takes hold of Internet users.
With the possible exception of hand sanitizer, which consumers are advised to use to maintain good hygienic standards throughout the coronavirus crisis, other everyday products are massively purchased online, which exacerbates supply issues. In many countries now store shelves are stripped of a whole range of products, from masks to thermometers, including baby formula and feminine hygiene products. As a result, online sellers are trying to take advantage of these new trends in consumer buying habits and high demand levels by raising prices.
Amazon and eBay are committed to removing merchants who seek to take advantage of the Coronavirus from their platforms. In recent weeks, Amazon has withdrawn at least a million products from its online market for price gouging. California attorney general Xavier Becerra last week asked Amazon, Walmart, Facebook and Craigslist to take action against the price gouging.
Prices continue to explode online
Amazon reacted : “We agree that there is no room for price gouging on Amazon. Our teams are watching 24/7; they have pulled hundreds of thousands of deals out for try to defraud. Thank you for recognizing our efforts. We look forward to continuing our collaboration to fight against bad actors. ” Earlier this month, eBay removed the sale of face masks, hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes from its platform to avoid “unfair pricing behavior for our buyers”.
However, a study by Which? (a British consumer association) suggests that the crackdown is not having the desired effect. The Which? found “constant overcharging” of household items, including cleaning products, formula, thermometers, etc. on eBay and Amazon. There are hundreds of items for sale, some with price increases of up to 1,000% in some cases. This is the case with hydroalcoholic gel, for example.