Amazon says it's removed 500K items, suspended 4K accounts due to price gouging

Posted at 8:39 AM, Mar 25, 2020

Amazon says it removed more than "half a million" items from its platform and suspended nearly 4,000 accounts due to price gouging amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Amazon does sell many of its own products on the site, "about half" of the items sold by the online retailer are sold by third parties who set their own prices. Company regulations prevent sellers from exploiting emergencies by selling "excessively" high prices on essentials.

"We are issuing regular reminders to our sellers about these longstanding policies, and we are enforcing them aggressively to protect our customers," the company wrote.

According to a post on its "Day One" blog, Amazon also said it is working with federal, state and local law enforcement to further hold price gougers accountable.

Though Amazon didn't go into specifics, price gougers used the service to sell hand sanitizer for as much as $80 a bottle earlier this month. After Amazon cracked down on price gouging, at least one person who was hoarding hand sanitizer in the hopes of flipping his supply for a profit donated his bottles to the state of Tennessee and a local church after Amazon froze his account.

Amazon also added that it's continuing to monitor for products and sellers that make false or misleading claims about their products — especially ones that offer to cure or treat coronavirus.