As the world continues to feel the effects of Coronavirus (COVID-19), consumers must be careful that they are not being overcharged for supplies – from face masks to sanitizers and even supplemental oxygen.
In a recent post, we shared information from the CDC and WHO that we felt was important to help educate everyone about the prevention and treatment of Coronavirus.
As a follow-up to that article, we would also like to remind consumers to be wary of price-gouging with many products related to the prevention of the virus. During any national or worldwide crisis, there are always cases of overcharging for essential products, and the Coronavirus scare has been no different.
In recent weeks on marketplace sites like Amazon and more, there have been spikes in prices for hand sanitizer, face masks, disinfecting wipes and yes, even supplemental oxygen.
According to a CBS News report, “Price spikes for masks were especially dramatic, surging 166% on average from the proceeding three-month period. In one case, U.S. PIRG found a package of 320 Lysol disinfecting wipes that usually cost $13.57 priced at $220. Another listing offered Purell sanitizer that normally sells for $7.99 priced as high as $49.95.” (Source: CBSNEWS.com)
Since the start of the epidemic, Amazon has been cracking down on Coronavirus-related abuse in its marketplace. The company has reportedly removed millions of products for making false virus claims, or sellers actively price-gouging based on the surge in consumer demand for these supplies. (Source: TheVerge.com)
Boost Oxygen recently found this seller on Amazon’s Italian marketplace offering their brand of supplemental oxygen for 84 euro, roughly $95! Comparatively, Boost Oxygen products are $7.99 – $19.99.
That is simply wrong – and abuse of fair pricing during a worldwide crisis.
In a statement to USA TODAY, Amazon said price gouging was “a clear violation of our policies, unethical, and in some areas, illegal. In addition to terminating these third party accounts, we welcome the opportunity to work directly with states attorneys general to prosecute bad actors.” (Source: USA Today)
While Amazon and similar sites continue to take action, be aware that price-gouging continues to take place during this crisis. If you find an example of overcharging on these Coronavirus-related items, we strongly encourage you to report them to Amazon for review.