Amazon and its third-party sellers are being accused by a consumer watchdog group. The group claims that they are engaging in price gouging during the coronavirus pandemic.
A report by Public Citizen states that Amazon “set prices of products during the COVID-19 pandemic to levels that would be considered violations of price gouging laws in many states.”
The retailer also reportedly misled the public, law enforcement, and policymakers about price increases during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The report mentioned that Amazon sold 15 essential products with markups ranging from 76% to more than 1,000% – as compared to previously listed Amazon prices or other retailers’ prices.
More than this, ten products sold by third-party sellers on Amazon during the same period had markups ranging from 225% to 941%.
“Amazon has fundamentally misled the public, law enforcement and policymakers about price increases during the pandemic,” said Alex Harman, Public Citizen competition policy advocate and author of the report. “Amazon has publicly blamed third-party sellers for price increases while continuing to raise prices on its own products and allowing those sellers to increase their prices.”
Harman added that Amazon is “not a victim in the price gouging on its marketplace – it is a perpetrator.”
“Price gouging is an insidious exploitation of the most vulnerable, especially during a national emergency. There is no excuse for Amazon, one of the largest and most successful corporations in history, to take advantage of vulnerable, scared consumers,” he added.
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