Important information regarding price gouging


#1

Amazon’s Marketplace Fair Pricing Policy protects our customers from unfair, excessive, and misleading prices. We recognize there may be some confusion as to what may trigger offer removal or account suspension for price gouging under this policy.

While state price gouging laws vary, in general they look to the average sale price (ASP) of an item preceding a state of emergency and prohibit price increases over that ASP due to the emergency. Some states cap those price increases at fixed amounts (10%, for example) while others prohibit “unconsciously excessive” price increases without a fixed cap. Many permit exceptions when the seller can show that the increase is due to the increased costs of goods, freight, or labor.

Our systems attempt to account for these variations in state law while recognizing that the costs of many goods are increasing due to the worldwide effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a starting point, we look at the ASP of the product (excluding any offers that are excessive) as well as the prevailing prices of the product.


Unfairly suspended listing due to price gouging
Can we get suspended for pricing violations?
Deactivated Account
Listing Removed Due to Fair Pricing
#2

How can sellers determine prevailing prices on Amazon other than using third party price tracking tools like Keepa and Camel Camel Camel? These tools can give a general idea, but are still best guess.


#3

Does price gouging concept applies only to essential items? Or to all? I mean, Nintendo Switch Console is clearly a “luxury” item, so pricing on it is not subject to price gouging laws? Does Amazon provides a list of categories which are subject to price gouging protection?


#4

Amazon needs to get their bots fixed. We have Qty bulk listings that break down cheaper than what amazon sells items per unit, but because it is a bulk qty listing - amazon bots think it’s price gouging.

Example - we have a listing with 100 widgets for $100
Amazon.com sells their own branded same item for $14.99 each.

We are marked as Price Gouging for this even though our price per unit is $10.00

We do this because these items may fit in 1 pallet and ships easily to businesses. But we can’t do this anymore because Amazon has incorrectly flagged us as Price Gouging.


#5

Is there something in place to exclude the Handmade category from being included in having our listings blocked? Naturally our items do cost more than mass produced goods.


#6

I would like to see the algorithm that attempts to monitor “unconsciously excessive” pricing.


#7

This policy is causing sellers to stop stocking essential goods out of fear of getting suspended, including myself.

We have seen price gouging claims on ASINs that were priced below the ASP of the product according to keepa. We would happily stock products that customers need, but we don’t know what price we have to price at or below to not trigger Amazon’s arbitrary and confusing algorithm.

Amazon. Your Algorithm is harming customers. Give us guidance. This announcement is so arbitrary and not tactile advice.


#8

We’ve been selling a product with the same price for long time without changing it. It has been flagged for price gouging. Amazon’s bot is not properly working .


#9

@Amazon_News…does this price gouging issue pertain to the price of the item listed, or the out the door price (item price, tax, shipping)? If the latter, what is a rule of thumb for setting shipping costs?

For example to set the shipping cost for a 30lb item that with only shipping availability to the lower 48 at standard speed out of Nashville TN, where’s the line? I know what that costs me to ship that package, but have had buyers in disbelief of the shipping cost…even though it’s the same as it’s always been.

Sarcastic replies first, then condescending second…:mask::mask::mask:


#10

Most important rule of “Economics” IS DEMAND AND SUPPLY!!!
If there is too much demand and low supply prices will GO UP!
If there is too much supply and demand is low prices will go DOWN!
Amazon wrong algorithm does not take any consideration of this MOST IMPORTANT RULE.
Price gouging is buying an item @ $1 and selling it to $1000. This ratio is price gouging.
Please revise your algorithm!


#11

So why is a gallon of vinegar on your site at $24.00 and up from multiple vendors? That is well above market price.


#12

I was at Family Dollar Monday and eggs were $1.09 a dozen. Today they were $3.25. I think this may constitute gouging.


#13

wrong info from amazon

I have a product listed for $27.97 on November 2019
Sold 1 piece on January for $27.97
Sold 1 piece on March 30 for $23.00

This a quite price decrease

Guess what

We have just got a Policy warning for violating the “Fair Pricing Policy”

Very bad. Very annoying . Very time consuming for nothing


#14

The issue is i am having is this Bot that is taking down listing with Potential High price is the same price i have been selling these items for years. My price alerts are set up properly but the items keep on being taken down, i report it to seller support and all they do is refresh it so it is live again and then a few hours later it is taken down again.

So the bot is hitting some false positives and it is affecting my sales and on items that have been priced the same ever since i listed them. So this bot is not working right.


#15

Like so many Amazon policies this cure ends up being worse than the disease.


#16

Again, Amazon needs to correct their price bots on media items many are requiring a price less that the fees we pay to amazon on the item . I have close to 200 of them and reading on the boards others having the same problem Thanks


#17

Exactly. We don’t have access to the data that Amazon wants us to utilize to make the decisions they’re asking us to make. This is a system error, in my opinion. The beauty of the Amazon marketplace is that it removes barriers to entry for anyone trying to sell anything ethical and safe. I want to be ethical and don’t want to price gouge, but I also am a small-time seller without many resources to go back to all of my 700+ items to make sure that the price doesn’t increase more than 10% during an emergency. Maybe I should freeze my prices during such an emergency, but I usually set my min and max prices much higher and lower than 10% because prices normally fluctuate more than that. We need Amazon’s help to be more efficient at identifying the problem products and putting a stop to it. Send me a list of all the stuff that seems to be higher than you would expect, and I’ll rapidly go through it and make all required changes. Amazon makes it possible for people without lots of resources to make this business model work. But we need help with tasks like this too and it’s a service that Amazon should provide. They regularly make products inactive due to high pricing errors. Why was this not implemented that way? Amazon tried to “help” prevent me from price gouging, but effectively shut my account down for an entire week during this crisis because my pricing software increased the price of Baby Brezza Cleaning Cloths from $6.99 to $16.99. I’m sorry, but the price range for that product was way more than that on average recently. It seems that because it had the word “Cleaning” in it, that it triggered some sort of hastily thrown together computer system trigger, and then Amazon didn’t have the resources to figure out how to get the unfairly triggered accounts turned back on, and so customers had to suffer without being able to buy items that were “Out of Stock” but were actually in stock sitting in Amazon warehouses. I had over 10k units sitting there unsellable for a week. I bet that didn’t help prices go down! It contributed to the price gouging. If anything, Amazon was complicit (although not purposely) in price gouging because all of the items that suddenly were taken off the market that I was selling and all of the other sellers that this happened to destabilized prices even more, and caused prices to rocket upward when the vacuum was created with thousands of items being removed from the Amazon marketplace. This is basic economics. Of course during an emergency you cannot price gouge, and any appearance of it whether intentional or not needs to be corrected. I wanted to do that, and knew I needed to, but it was spring break, and my kids were home, and then they stayed home, and they’re still home! I was BUSY! I am busy, and I need money! C’mon Amazon! I know that most repricing algorithms and bounds were designed without malicious intent, hoping only to stay competetive with multiple sellers with the intent of not wanting to spend a lot of time tracking prices, and without much regard to the max price because nobody ever expects an item with 30 sellers to run out and suddenly be the only seller and head to the max price. Of course prices are going to go up!!! Amazon violated the fundamental laws of economics. They removed vast amounts of supply, and then freaked out when the computer programs caused prices to rocket upwards, and then shut down more accounts. One or two bad apples ruined this for everyone. My account should not been shut down because of that. I’ve been a trusted seller on Amazon for over 10 years and that’s how you’re going to treat me? You better believe that I’m looking for other alternatives because this was an eye opening experience that Amazon has too much power and control over my life, and my eggs are in one basket, and I can’t allow Amazon to destroy me financially because they are incompetent or careless.

On top of that, after turning my account back on Amazon STILL took out over $4k for a loan that they offered me, leaving me with only $1k in income for that two week period, when I would normally expect to receive about $14k. with the way sales have been. That’s a huge difference. Not all of it was due to the account shutdown, I realize, but still… I sent Amazon Lending a request to defer the next loan payment, and they blew me off. Then they took out the loan payment, and then sent a mass email saying that as of March 26th through about a month, they wouldn’t take out Amazon Lending payments. Well, they took mine out on March 25th, leaving me with only $1000 to pay employees, bills, and keep revenue flowing. I immediately sent an email asking for specific accomadations, considering the circumstances, but haven’t received a response over a week later. Thanks for the $1000 Amazon, but it isn’t enough. I’d like to pay my employees, but I can’t. I wanted to provide a service to customers who could have had access to the items I sell, but they could not. The prices I had set would have stabilized the market, but you removed my products for over a week, which sent prices even higher. Also, I caught Amazon itself price gouging, but probably not on purpose. Look up the keepa history for “VicTsing 2.4G Wireless Vertical Mouse Ergonomic High Precision Optical Mouse”. I bought that mouse a long time ago on Amazon for $16.99. Look at what Amazon is selling it for right now! I just checked and it’s sold by Amazon for $750.44. I sold that very same mouse on Amazon two days ago for $16.99. The representative who had no authority in the Account Health team laughed along with me at that, and wanted to suspend Amazon’s selling priveleges, and make them write an action plan. In fact, I think Amazon should do just that.

I know I repeated a few things there, but this is enough and needs to stop.


#18

Why not just limit the price the item can be sold at. Turn off any listing that exceeds the price. Then the seller can decide if he wants to sell at the “prevailing safe price”. Otherwise its all guesswork and the bots are like surgery with a sledgehammer.


#19

My story will simply echo many others. Many of my software and game listings, some of which are years old, have been “blocked” or “paused” (or whatever the current lingo is) for price violations. My prices haven’t changed. Many of the suppressed listings are at or below original MSRP. What apparently has triggered the bots are 1.Other Amazon sellers pricing their copies at liquidation prices of a few dollars and 2. Amazon’s current panicked effort to show a strong hand in price gouge prevention. Unfortunately Amazon’s fair price algorithms are simple, dumb and ineffective.


#20

This also makes no sense. I have a product listed where other sellers are selling it for over $21!!! which is obviously price gouging, yet when I list it for $14 my listing is deactivated because of me listing it too high when other people are selling it for much more!!