Price gouging OK...as long as it's Amazon


#1

Data shows Amazon raised prices during pandemic alongside sellers accused of price gouging

Company has removed 3,900 sellers for violations
Amazon not only earned commissions from those sellers accused of price gouging, it also more than doubled its own prices on essential goods as the COVID-19 pandemic grew between early January and mid-March.

At one point earlier this month, Amazon listed a four-pack of toilet paper for $72.

We contacted Amazon about Jungle Scout’s findings, but a spokesperson wouldn’t directly answer our question about whether Amazon engaged in price gouging.

She said in an emailed statement:

· Amazon is working with state Attorneys General and sharing information to help them hold price gougers accountable


#2

This is about a pricing blip on Jungle Scout?


#3

NO,
This is from a news article on ABC about Amazon removing sellers for price gouging…
But Amazon itself is doing the price gouging.


#4

It looks like Amazon removed my post…


#5

Yes I have seen many Amazon listings that are overpriced - particularly the “Amazon Global” listings (where Amazon buy from an existing Amazon Seller on another Amazon website to fulfil an order for their listing on Amazon USA for example)


#6

I read the ABC News story dated March 27. It is titled:

Data shows Amazon raised prices during pandemic alongside sellers accused of price gouging

This week, Amazon kicked thousands of sellers off its site for price gouging and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced she’s investigating dozens of sellers amid the growing coronavirus pandemic.

But the ABC Action News I-Team has learned that while those sellers were making big profits off customers’ fear and misery, Amazon substantially raised its own prices on products like hand sanitizer, protective masks and toilet paper.


#7

Yes…Exactly,
Now I’m not saying price gouging is OK…IT IS NOT…
But Amazon seems to be able to break any rules it pleases.


#8

States have been tripping over themselves handing out tax abatements and incentives for Amazon to open warehouses in their districts. There’s a lot of political pressure for State Attorney General’s to look the other way and they largely have.

On the Federal level Congress is investigating Amazon. But the head of this Congressional committee, Representative David Cicilline, received donations from five Amazon executives right before the committee was formed.

So yes, Amazon does get to break the rules because they are leveraging jobs and money to avoid being held to the same standards as others. Additionally, State Attorney General’s like to go after the little guys because they can’t put up much resistance. It makes great headlines for AG’s, with little effort on their part, when they go after the lowest hanging fruit…


#9

I see added at the end was an Amazon spokesman’s response, as follows:

As we have said, there is no place for price gouging on Amazon and that includes products offered directly by Amazon. Our systems are designed to offers customers the best available online price and if we see an error, we work quickly to fix it. Amazon is committed to providing customers with low prices and that includes regularly reviewing competitive prices to ensure we provide customers with the best deal. The item referenced was not an Amazon-branded product. We mistakenly raised the price of this product due to an error, but have since fixed. We are proactively refunding affected customers and have implemented additional measures to keep prices low as our global teams work 24/7 to monitor prices in our store.

The part I find interesting is the snippet I bolded.

“…the best available online price…”

And this, in many cases amid the current crisis, can still be price gouging.

Amazon spokesmen notoriously have “a way with words.”


#10

When big multi-national corps get caught with their hand in the cookie jar, they are quick to blame it on an “error.” Google does the same thing by blaming the “error” on their algorithm. Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, etc. can’t be prosecuted and sent to prison.


#11

Tons of Amazon sold products have gone up, because the third party sellers were removed, and Amazon had been matching those sellers prices, and with them gone Amazon went back to their default prices. Unless there’s an actual picture of $72 toilet paper, it’s not worth worrying about.


#12

I’m not worried at all… just stating the truth.


#13

… just stating the truth

To be fair though, this is unlikely to be a case of price gouging, which means to purposefully raise your price on certain products to take advantage of a desperate situation.

We all know that Amazon is more automated than it should be, and there are no human beings involved in the process to ask ‘is $72 too much to charge for toilet paper?’

Their bots are programmed to look at whatever prices are being charged currently wherever, and then set an Amazon price based on those. It isn’t that a person at Amazon saw an opportunity and decided to take advantage of shoppers (as third party sellers who’s businesses are run by humans not robots did), it’s that their pricing bots, like all the rest of their bots, suck at what they do.

In this case, they lacked any logic programmed into them to prevent prices from being raised into the ‘gouging’ range. It’s less about greed, and more about failed technology. That doesn’t make it any more acceptable, I just don’t agree with the argument that it was intentional price gouging.


#14

If Amazon is using repricing tech on their own items to compete with other sellers repricing tech, then their prices would have inflated on offers they were actively competing on. Then it makes sense that they accidentally participated in price gouging based on these repricing settings.


#15

Just wondering. what exactly is not considered price gouging? if my cost on a mask is 70 cents, i can;t possibly sell it for less than 70 cents can I?


#16

Check out my thread from 3 weeks ago:


#17

Most definitions of price gouging state that the price can’t be significantly above what the item has been selling for before the emergency situation.


#18

Report anyone and make them accountable.


#19

We have received a lot of the pricing gouging emails from people thinking that becuase we are on Amazon we would source the product at the same costs as Amazon. We access the items from the same company’s but at a much higher cost and the fulfillment costs are twice the amount amazon receives. Offer what you can at a cost that is fair. This is what we do and we are getting killed on our feedback because people think everything is just as it was before. NO DELAYS or else… that box you sent was so big… But not a mention they got the item 14 hours after they ordered it. People emotions are heightened right now and we understand Hopefully we won’t be suspended for all this nonsense.


#21

Alcohol swabs and essential stuff used to be $1 a box. Look at how much it cost now on amazon. Even Walmart doubled those essential stuff prices. People need alcohol swabs to clean up their phones and anything except clothe and shows each time they come back from outside grocery shopping or other things.