The panic buying mirrors that of the very early days of the pandemic, with everyday products like paper towels, toilet paper and cleaning supplies seeing more demand. That has allowed some sellers to perform price gouging, setting the prices for those things inordinately high.
Now, along with the basic necessities, cold-weather products for the winter season like propane heaters and fire pits are seeing demand and price gouging as a result, according to Fox Business.
Fox Business reported that Amazon is stepping up its efforts to remove offending seller accounts and offers for putting the prices too high. The site has removed over 1 million products so far. A spokesperson said Amazon is “disappointed that bad actors are attempting to take advantage of this global health crisis and, in addition to removing these offers, have suspended more than 10,000 selling accounts.”
Amazon also said it has referred some particularly egregious offenders to law enforcement and plans to continue being vigilant on the issue, calling for federal prosecutors and states attorneys general to advance new investigations into price gouging and to resolve them quickly. The company called for a “strong federal anti-price gouging law,” according to the report.
There are differing standards for what constitutes price gouging based on the states, with some defining it as pricing 10 percent to 25 percent higher than the average prices, while others just forbid “unconscionably excessive” prices, Fox Business reported.
Amazon’s push for a national price gouging law would prohibit the practice during times of crisis. PYMNTS reported that Amazon Vice President of Public Policy Brian Huseman said the difficulty came from the various ways price gouging is defined around the country. Amazon isn’t alone in the concern. In March, 32 states attorneys general urged numerous eCommerce giants to keep watch for price gouging.