Amazon sold items at inflated prices during pandemic

notimp

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... according to consumer watchdog

According to Public Citizen, items listed as “sold by Amazon” saw price increases of anywhere from 48 percent for hand sanitizer (a product category that Amazon said it had placed restrictions onback in March), to 1,000 percent for packs of disposable face masks. In the case of toilet paper, for example, the non-profit group said it found a pack of eight rolls being sold for $36.39 back in June, while other retailers have charged just $6.89 for the same product. One bottle of antibacterial soap was listed at a high of $7, compared to a low of $1.49, an increase of 470 percent.

As well as investigating ten essential items listed as sold by Amazon, the report also analyzed eight items sold by third-party sellers. Such sellers account for a quarter of Amazon’s online retail revenue, according to its most recent earnings report. Here Public Citizen found increases of up to 274 percent for antibacterial soap and 941 percent for flour.

Although the report found plenty of examples where third-party price trackers found large disparities between the highest and lowest prices charged for items, in other cases it shows just how hard it is to see how much items have historically sold for, and hence get an idea of what their price should actually be. Prices fluctuate rapidly, making it hard to gauge what a typical price is, and which prices are errors or outliers.

Take face masks as an example. Although Public Citizen’s report highlights an alarming 1000 percent increase in price from around $4 to $39.99 now for a pack of 50 masks listed as “sold by Amazon,” it notes that the amount of new listings for face masks makes it “difficult to make apples-to-apples comparisons.” The report’s citation for this original $4 price for face masks comes via a Wired report published in February, which points towards a now-deleted listing for a pack of 100, not 50, masks.

Public Citizen is calling for new federal laws which clearly establish the point at which price increases become price gouging and which items they apply to (Amazon itself called for new federal regulation back in May), but also for Amazon to reform its own listings to make pricing more transparent.

https://www.theverge.com/2020/9/11/...vid-19-hand-sanitizer-masks-soap-toilet-paper
 

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Seems like people all over were inflating prices. I was in the market for a webcam a few months ago and happened upon one I had bought about five years ago for £15, now being sold for £60.

It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest to see Amazon themselves joining in.
 
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I went and got take out at a restaurant today and talked to the owner for a little while. He's in danger of going out of business. He's losing like 50,000 to 100,000 dollars. No one hardly goes in there anymore. He said while I'm struggling companies like Amazon and Walmart are thriving, one day they could be all that's left. Amazon is not in any danger of going out of business. So they should not be dicks and inflate prices right now. But they're just another greedy corporation that will do anything to increase their profits.
 
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Lacius

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Here's a good video on the topic of price gouging and how it's sometimes necessary. Amazon is also briefly mentioned.

 

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Oh god, PBS has become a source you cant link to anymore. (Referring to the video.)

During the pandemic 'allocation of goods depending on needs/scarcity' wasnt a 'real' issue. Because there was no supply shortage, just a demand spike.

All (most) price increases listed above are well above 200%.

Listings above especially mention products sold by amazon (not just market place sellers) at price gauging levels, so them delisting third party products just served as a demand hike for their own price gauging.

Also amazon had 'per customer limits' in place, but also resorted to price gauging to increase profits.
 
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Hayato213

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The first article you post was from half a year ago, a lot has changed since then, it is true that Amazon tries to stop people from price gouging, but just look at it a can of 19oz Lysol disinfectant goes for like 4x of it regular price, 20ish dollars, a box of 10 pieces 3m n95 goes for like 80 dollars, price inflation. There isn't enough supply and there is too much demand, Amazon has started to limit the number of items you can buy from the same listing on each account to fight against price gouging, and that everyone has an equal chance at the items they are selling.
 
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slaphappygamer

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There is a restaurant near me that offers take-out only. They sell toilet paper for $2 a roll. “Yes, I’ll have the beet salad and a roll of toilet paper, thanks,”. Strange times call for strange measures. Price gouging is sad. It’s much like a scalper that is going to sell the ps5 for $1200. Fucking assholes!
 

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Price gouging is sad. It’s much like a scalper that is going to sell the ps5 for $1200. Fucking assholes!
*cough* Nintendo product *cough*. Seriously, it seems Nintendo loves scalpers.
Ala the upcoming limited run games like the 3D all stars for the switch, I can see it now how that is going to be inflated due to scalpers.
 
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Don't see a problem with that. Every retailer was doing it and they were just adjusting the prices.

Meanwhile, we just bought what we usually do. Others were buying like it was the end of the world, I guess they were disappointed it wasn't.
 

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I mean that's basic economics after all. It's only really bad if it was illegal to raise prices like in my country. It is awful for those affected. So I think Amazon is at least combating hoarding.
 
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DarkFlare69

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I mean that's basic economics after all. It's only really bad if it was illegal to raise prices like in my country. It is awful for those affected. So I think Amazon is at least combating hoarding.
Yeah, this is week 1 of any college economics class. You can't get any simpler than this when it comes to economics, but somehow people are still not understanding it.
 

notimp

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The first article you post was from half a year ago, a lot has changed since then,
The article I referenced is from two days ago. Investigations went on for over half a year.

it is true that Amazon tries to stop people from price gouging, but just look at it a can of 19oz Lysol disinfectant goes for like 4x of it regular price, 20ish dollars, a box of 10 pieces 3m n95 goes for like 80 dollars, price inflation. There isn't enough supply and there is too much demand, Amazon has started to limit the number of items you can buy from the same listing on each account to fight against price gouging, and that everyone has an equal chance at the items they are selling.
So as a result you return to still breaking the law, but also limiting it a little with per user limits?

Sales must be a wonderful business.. ;)

In essence, what this is about is, consumer advocates demanding better monitoring tools, because certain product items were delisted and then enlisted again, as a different SKU to fly under pricegauging laws. And with amazon knowing this and doing nothing about it - in fact profiting from the practice themselves.

Also 1000% price increase on simple protective masks still persists to this day, although your reasonable alternative is a cloth mask at this point, with close to no availability constraints.

So at which point, has the price hike served its 'beneficial' purpose? And who decides? The manufacturer?
 
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All this does is increasing the demand for SX modchips.
For people who want to pirate the console. They'll always have an excuse on why they want it cracked.

The game will be in print until March 2021 or something, so there should be enough for everyone who wants it now. At least they're honest about the limited print.
 

FAST6191

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I am still not sure masks, disinfectant, bog roll and the like are essential life giving/saving goods for the average person as much as nice to have luxuries after a fashion. Bog roll not being used by a large chunk of the world, though I can at least see that being some kind of quasi essential good in some places as not everybody has a nice bidet.

On the restaurant then more likely they had theirs keep being ripped off by customers so if the customer thinks it is theirs then they are not going to do that.

Beyond that I do have to go back to something is worth what someone else is willing to pay, there are time constraints on things and fads can influence prices but whether I entirely support restrictions on price increases during times of need is a different matter, not that I would deem most of those as essential goods.
 

Hayato213

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The article I referenced is from two days ago. Investigations went on for over half a year.


So as a result you return to still breaking the law, but also limiting it a little with per user limits?

Sales must be a wonderful business.. ;)

In essence, what this is about is, consumer advocates demanding better monitoring tools, because certain product items were delisted and then enlisted again, as a different SKU to fly under pricegauging laws. And with amazon knowing this and doing nothing about it - in fact profiting from the practice themselves.

Also 1000% price increase on simple protective masks still persists to this day, although your reasonable alternative is a cloth mask at this point, with close to no availability constraints.

So at which point, has the price hike served its 'beneficial' purpose? And who decides? The manufacturer?


Well that is just how it is right now with the pandemic, with the amount of supply and too much demand, if there is enough for everyone then there won't be price gouging and people won't be scalped for basic stuffs, truth we don't like it but that how life is now a day. It doesn't mean you have to pay what third party sellers demand on Amazon, that why you hunt for restock. When it is restock and directly sold by Amazon it is at regular price not inflated price 400% to 500% of original price. Probably different where you live.
 
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