March 2, 2024

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Amazon plans to prosecute sellers for price gouging during coronavirus

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Amazon is cracking down on price gouging during the spread of COVID-19.


Amazon is cracking down on sellers who are price gouging on items like hand sanitizer and face masks during the spread of the coronavirus, announcing it’s working with multiple state attorneys general to prosecute “the worst offenders.” The letter, signed by Brian Huseman, VP of Amazon Public Policy, was a response to Sen. Edward J. Markey’s letter Wednesday warning Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about price inflations.

Amazon said it’s “aggressively enforcing” its policy, monitoring the store, has taken down hundreds of thousands of high-priced products and has suspended thousands of accounts. It’s also removed “millions” of products claiming to cure COVID-19.

“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, sent to CNET from Amazon via email and reported earlier Friday by Reuters, says. “It is unconscionable.”

Amazon warned its sellers about price gouging on Feb. 26. Earlier Friday, eBay also banned the sale of face masks and hand sanitizers amid price-gouging concerns. 

New York City tweeted on March 4 it would begin issuing fines “to any store found price gouging supplies.” You can call 311 to report any price gouging. 

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson also warned stores against jacking up pricing, saying this week “we are taking formal investigative actions.”

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