We’re all spending a lot more time browsing Amazon in hopes of finding necessities that grocery stores are out of as panic buying continues to run amok. But unfortunately, many Amazon users have started to notice that the prices of some necessities sold by third-party resellers on Amazon seem to have shot up in price, such as toilet paper, hand sanitizers, or food items.
Glad Amazon got the price gouging under control. I'm always happy to buy V8 Splash at the MSRP of $81.56. pic.twitter.com/wiFMrG6g7P
— Ray, Here For The Dunks, Gordon (@RealJoshGroban) March 20, 2020
These unexpected price hikes of in-demand products in a time of crisis are known as price gouging, and some sellers are unfortunately engaging in it in order to turn a higher buck from desperate shoppers. The good news is Amazon customers aren’t the only ones taking notice of price gouging on the platform—Amazon has too.
As the company announced in a blog post, Amazon has begun taking drastic steps to put an end to COVID-19-induced price gouging on its platform. The company says it has already removed over half a million items third-party sellers offered that were priced to gouge customers. It has also suspended 3,900 sellers in the U.S. alone that were found to be price gouging.
Amazon needs a way to report price gouging pic.twitter.com/5It1w0WvJG
— D. D. Syrdal (@DDSyrdal) March 19, 2020
But Amazon isn’t stopping there. Amazon says it’s actively reaching out to authorities, including states’ attorneys general, to report price gougers:
Amazon is eager to partner with—and has proactively reached out to—every state attorney general in the country. We are actively collaborating with attorneys general in more than ten states, and with numerous federal prosecutors, as they work to investigate and prosecute alleged price gougers. To advance price gouging investigations and resolutions, we have also created a special mechanism for state attorneys general offices to quickly and easily escalate the consumer complaints they have received. We are also proactively sharing information with state attorneys general and federal regulators about sellers we suspect have engaged in egregious price gouging of products related to the COVID-19 crisis.
And some price gougers don’t raise the price of the product itself, but jack up the price of the shipping fee in order to make an unreasonable gain and hide the gouging, but Amazon’s aware of that too. Its automated systems to detect price gouging looks for increases in both product price and shipping fees.