We live in strange times these days. Nearly every American’s life has been upended by something we can’t even see, a miniscule coronavirus that has proven most deadly to those who already have compromised immune systems due to age or existing illness.
So, during this volatile time what would cause Amazon – the place where so many Americans shop – to remove more than a million coronavirus-related products from its online marketplace? Simply put: Price gouging and misleading COVID-19 claims by vendors.
One such banished seller was a pair of brothers in Tennessee. After the first U.S. coronavirus death Matt and Noah Colvin scoured their region and bought up nearly 18,000 bottles of hand sanitizer and thousands of packets of antibacterial wipes. Their plan was to sell them on Ebay and Amazon for as much money as they could get. After some of the brothers’ sanitizing bottles sold for up to $70 both online marketplaces banned the Colvin’s transactions. In fact, Ebay announced it was removing all offers for hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, face masks or any other product mentioning coronavirus or COVID-19.
At the very mention of price gouging – charging way more for high-demand goods and services in times of emergency – politicians quickly responded with proposals for tougher laws. Currently, there are specific laws against price gouging already on the books in 34 states.