Sen. Markey asks Bezos to crack down on ‘coronavirus-inspired price gouging’

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Oct 02, 2019.

Elif Ozturk | Anadolu Agency | Getty Photos

Senator Ed Markey, D-Mass., desires Jeff Bezos to acquire motion versus “coronavirus-inspired price tag gouging” on Amazon.

In a letter despatched to the Amazon CEO on Wednesday, Markey asked Bezos to give far more details about what steps Amazon is getting to crack down on price gouging and how it establishes irrespective of whether an merchandise is unfairly priced.

The letter arrives after CNBC beforehand noted Amazon, Walmart and other e-commerce businesses have struggled to suppress 3rd-celebration sellers who are overcharging for solutions that have spiked in desire amid the unfold of the coronavirus.

Sellers inflated prices for hazmat fits, face masks and hand sanitizer, amongst other products and solutions. For instance, in advance of Amazon ran out of inventory, N95 experience masks were priced at $13.28, but CNBC uncovered examples of confront masks remaining bought for as substantially as $195.

“Even though Amazon and the other sellers on have a right to be expecting a sensible return on the solutions they offer, they do not have a suitable to impose unjustifiably significant price ranges on buyers who are in search of to defend by themselves in opposition to the coronavirus,” the letter says. “But in accordance to push studies, that is precisely what is taking place.” 

Markey integrated a record of inquiries for Bezos searching for extra facts on Amazon’s endeavours to reduce price gouging, with a deadline for Amazon to react by March 18. Amongst the questions questioned have been how Amazon tracks coronavirus-similar cost gouging on its platform, how quite a few price-gouging warnings Amazon has issued to 3rd-bash sellers, how many listings Amazon has eradicated or suspended and what techniques Amazon is getting to protect against value gouging. The letter also asks Amazon to clarify “at what degree is an product unfairly priced.” 

Associates from Amazon didn’t straight away answer to a ask for for comment. 

Amazon has suspended or removed tens of thousands of promotions from sellers that it accused of charging consumers unfair prices, the firm said final 7 days. An Amazon spokesperson informed CNBC in a assertion that “there is no put for cost gouging on Amazon” and pointed to the firm’s “very long-standing” policy on good pricing.

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