Amazon Suspends Thousands of Sellers for Price Gouging Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Amazon has no patience with profiteers looking to take unfair advantage of coronavirus-related fears.

In a blog post yesterday, the Seattle-based company said it has removed over 3,900 selling accounts in the U.S. for price gouging as demand for products such as face masks and hand sanitizer spikes. More than 500,000 offers have been taken down, the company noted.

Amazon has a dedicated team working to discover and investigate “unfairly priced products that are now in high demand,” the e-tail giant said.

“We are constantly monitoring our stores for unfair prices and listings that make false claims in regards to COVID-19. We have dynamic, automated systems in place that locate and remove unfairly priced items,” Amazon wrote. “If we find a price that violates our policy, we remove the offer and take swift action against bad actors engaged in demonstrated misconduct, including suspending or terminating their selling accounts and referring them to law enforcement agencies for prosecution under relevant laws.”

Many consumers have turned to e-commerce amid store closures and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention social-distancing guidelines. Amazon, meanwhile, is racing to keep up with inventory as panicked shoppers stock up on household staples online.

The e-tailer said it is taking “every possible step to increase our inventory of relief supplies, basic-need products and other household staples.” Amazon Prime shoppers are also seeing delivery delays on nonessential products as the company focuses on restocking and delivering the most-needed items.

To keep up with coronavirus-related demand, Amazon announced last week that it would hire 100,000 new employees to do deliveries and work in its warehouses. The company is spending $350 million to raise pay for employees in the U.S. and Canada by $2 an hour through April. Similar pay hikes are being implemented internationally.

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