BEIJING, Feb. 28 (Afp) – Amazon said Thursday it has banned the sale of more than 1 million products in recent weeks that it claims to cure or fight the coronavirus,media reported Thursday. Amazon has also removed tens of thousands of transactions from merchants that it says seek to defraud customers of prices.
The world’s largest online retailer is now facing scrutiny for health products on its platform. Earlier this week, Italy launched an investigation into soaring prices for sterilised gels and sanitary masks on the Internet as the country battles europe’s biggest outbreak of the virus. Currently, the number of newly reported infections worldwide exceeds that of mainland China. From Australia to Iran, many governments have closed schools, cancelled activities and stockpiled medical supplies to control the spread of the virus.
U.S. industrial giant 3M recently sold more masks on Amazon’s platform than usual, according to a comparison website. According to price-tracking website camelcamel.com, when you click on amazon’s buyoption, a merchant offered 10 packs of N95 masks thursday for $128, well above the recent average price of $41.24. Later in the day, however, these mask options were no longer available. The price-tracking website also showed that earlier this week, a third-party seller launched a two-pack gas mask for $24.99, above Amazon’s recent average price of $6.65.
“Amazon does not have to drive up prices,” Amazon said in a statement. A company spokesman cited company policy that Amazon could get products that affect customer trust off the shelves, including those priced “significantly higher than recent offers.” But Amazon declined to specify the exact threshold for unfair pricing.
The company said it had monitored price increases through automated and manual reviews of online products.