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Amazon Kicks Price Gougers Off Its Marketplace

By Daniel B. Kline - Mar 24, 2020 at 1:28PM

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The retailer has taken bold steps to protect its customers.

Troubled times can lead to bad actors trying to take advantage of the situation. That has happened during the coronavirus pandemic, with some people and companies attempting gouge prices on essential items like toilet paper, non-perishable food, and hand sanitizer.

Amazon (AMZN 1.42%) has been aggressive in fighting this abuse. It has already removed more than 1 million items that either had inflated prices or made false claims. Now it's going even further.

A worker in an Amazon warehouse.

Amazon has taken steps to stop price gouging. Image source: Amazon.

How is Amazon stopping price gougers?

The online retailer noted in a blog post that more than half of the items offered on its platform come from third-party retailers that set their own prices. Setting your own prices, however, does not mean charging whatever you want, and Amazon has rules in place to protect consumers.

"Amazon strictly prohibits sellers from exploiting an emergency by charging excessively high prices on products and shipping," according to the blog post. "We are issuing regular reminders to our sellers about these long-standing policies, and we are enforcing them aggressively to protect our customers."

The retailer has also been using both automated and manual methods to remove "bad actors and offers." That includes working with law enforcement. Amazon has also suspended 3,900 sellers on its U.S. website alone for violating its policies. 

Protecting consumers

Amazon has been trying to do right by its customers as it struggles to keep up with demand. Being aggressive in stopping price gougers actually helps on two levels. It's good for consumers, and it also removes the incentive for people to buy up goods and attempt to resell them at a profit. These efforts may not stop 100% of the problem, but they should make it much harder for the so-called "bad actors" to operate.

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