Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Health called on the public to stop snapping up masks that they say won’t help people avoid the new coronavirus,media reported. And now eBay has announced it will stop selling masks and other items in short supply related to the outbreak. The move appears to prevent sellers from trying to take advantage of the fear surrounding the COVID-19 to drive up prices.
eBay published an article on its community website On Thursday announcing that it would ban the sale of masks including N95/N100 and surgical masks, hand sanitizers and gels and sanitized wipes. Existing items will be removed, and eBay will also begin to remove items that refer to COVID-19, coronavirus or 2019nCoV in the description or title, with the exception of books.
“These products may violate applicable U.S. laws or regulations, eBay policies, and exhibit unfair pricing practices to our buyers,” eBay said in the post, noting that it will continue to post updates on its community sites. CNBC reported that price hikes had been a problem on eBay until the ban took effect, with one seller offering five 2.5-ounce bottles of Germ-X hand sanitizer for $500.
In addition to preventing price hikes, eBay wants to take off untied medical requirements. On Monday, the U.S. Department of Health advised people not to snap up masks because they don’t help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus among the public. With this in mind, the public’s rush to buy masks may only lead to a shortage of medical supplies that actually need their medical staff.