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Coronavirus: Amazon restricts sales of hand sanitizers and face masks because of swindling prices

The step by Amazon comes after a lot of third-party sellers increased prices for products like hand sanitizers and face masks.

twitter-logoYasmin Ahmed | March 12, 2020 | Updated 15:07 IST
(Source: Reuters)

Highlights

  • Amazon has restricted the sales of face masks and hand sanitizers as a step to curb price gouging.
  • It has issued a notice to its sellers that it will no longer take any more listings.
  • The sellers who already have invested will get a reimbursement.

At a time when prices for hand sanitizers and face masks are on an all-time surge, Amazon has taken a stand. The e-commerce platform has started restricting the types of sellers on its platform. All products pertaining to coronavirus -- face masks, hand sanitizers, disinfecting wipes and sprays, isopropyl alcohol which are sold by third party sellers are being restricted, The Verge reports.

The decision was revealed in a note sent to sellers on Wednesday. The notice sent to the sellers read, "We have implemented more stringent requirements to sell these products in our store and as a result, your offers have been removed. We are not accepting applications to sell these products at this time."

According to Amazon, the remaining inventories of these products in its fulfilment centers are eligible for reimbursement of the return of disposal fees. Sellers will have to get create a so-called removal order to get that processed.

The window for reimbursement will be effective from today, i.e. March 12 and will last till May 31, 2020. Amazon has also informed that the sellers can contact their seller support line, should they feel that they are being wrongfully targeted under the new policy.

It seems that Amazon will be closing all applications for new listings and will only let existing sellers remain on the site. The ones who follow Amazon's fair pricing policy which states that the portal strives to "sell largest selection at the lowest price" to its customers.

If you currently search for sanitizers on Amazon, you will come across many products which seem to fairly priced. But this was not the case a few weeks back as Amazon showed sky-high prices for these products.

A few weeks back, Amazon blocked over a million products from being sold as these products made misleading claims. These products apparently made false anti-coronavirus claims. Amazon has said that this is its fight against price gouging and deceptive marketing.

Earlier, Facebook and Instagram, in an attempt to curb misinformation, removed ads that claimed that they would cure coronavirus. The online marketplace ebay, too in the past week banned face mask and hand sanitizers.

Apple, too, cracked down on apps related to coronavirus or COVID-19 that were not from health organisations.

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