September 20, 2020

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Senator asks Bezos to crack down on ‘coronavirus-inspired price gouging’

Senator asks Bezos to crack down on 'coronavirus-inspired price gouging'

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on October 02, 2019.

Elif Ozturk | Anadolu Company | Getty Pictures

Senator Ed Markey, D-Mass., desires Jeff Bezos to choose action towards “coronavirus-impressed cost gouging” on Amazon.

In a letter despatched to the Amazon CEO on Wednesday, Markey requested Bezos to supply more data about what actions Amazon is using to crack down on price gouging and how it determines no matter whether an item is unfairly priced.

The letter comes just after CNBC earlier described Amazon, Walmart and other e-commerce providers have struggled to control 3rd-party sellers who are overcharging for items that have spiked in demand amid the spread of the coronavirus.

Sellers inflated price ranges for hazmat suits, encounter masks and hand sanitizer, among the other merchandise. For instance, prior to Amazon ran out of stock, N95 confront masks ended up priced at $13.28, but CNBC discovered illustrations of experience masks staying sold for as significantly as $195.

“Whilst Amazon and the other sellers on Amazon.com have a ideal to anticipate a fair return on the products and solutions they promote, they do not have a suitable to impose unjustifiably superior prices on customers who are looking for to secure themselves towards the coronavirus,” the letter claims. “But in accordance to push experiences, that is precisely what is going on.” 

Markey incorporated a list of thoughts for Bezos seeking additional data on Amazon’s endeavours to protect against cost gouging, with a deadline for Amazon to reply by March 18. Among the queries asked ended up how Amazon tracks coronavirus-associated cost gouging on its system, how quite a few selling price-gouging warnings Amazon has issued to third-get together sellers, how quite a few listings Amazon has taken off or suspended and what actions Amazon is having to avoid rate gouging. The letter also asks Amazon to explain “at what amount is an product unfairly priced.” 

An Amazon spokesperson advised CNBC in a assertion: “We concur with Senator Markey—there is no spot for cost gouging on Amazon and that is why our groups are checking our retail store 24/7 and have presently taken off tens of 1000’s of features for attempted rate gouging. We are unhappy that lousy actors are attempting to just take gain of this global well being crisis and, in addition to eradicating these gives, we are terminating accounts.”

Last week, Amazon explained it taken out tens of 1000’s of offers from sellers that it accused of charging customers unfair selling prices. The company also blocked or eradicated far more than 1 million merchandise that manufactured suspect or deceptive statements about the coronavirus.

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