Amazon is reportedly deleting some third-party listings that jack up surgical mask prices as the coronavirus creates a shortage

Amazon is reportedly deleting some third-party listings that jack up surgical mask prices as the coronavirus creates a shortage

Business·2020-02-26 08:49

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A worker collects orders at Amazon’s fulfilment centre in Rugeley, central England December 11, 2012.

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REUTERS/Phil Noble

The coronavirus outbreak has led to a shortage of protective masks and other medical supplies, leading some sellers to significantly increase prices.

Amazon has been trying to prevent the practice on its platform, alerting sellers who may be in violation of its pricing policies, according to .

Most states in the US have “price gouging” laws which prevent businesses from taking of advantage of consumers by charging exorbitant amounts of money during emergencies.

Authorities in countries such as and have also received complaints about price gouging since the outbreak, while Amazon has .

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As people across the world try to protect themselves from the Wuhan coronavirus, which has now claimed 2,700 lives and infected another 80,000, demand for medical supplies has spiked. As a result, prices for products like surgical masks have jumped to several times what they normally cost, with businesses and individuals selling masks in bulk at a premium on sites ranging from Facebook to Craigslist.

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