Amazon is one of the companies that have been very successful in taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis. Specialized in the delivery and armed with concrete logistics while a good part of the population was cloistered at home, the platform doubled its profits compared to last year – despite $ 4 billion [3,5 milliards d’euros] spent to manage the epidemic.
As the whole world fought to try to obtain masks and bottles of hydroalcoholic solution, speculators very quickly understood how fortunes could be amassed by reselling these products at high prices.
Amazon then publicly declared that predatory pricing had no place on the platform, and even boasted of monitoring the site 24 hours a day and banning thousands of price gouger accounts and even of “collaborating actively ”with the attorneys general of several states.
However, Public Citizen, a major consumer advocacy association, accuses Amazon of having itself benefited from these price increases. According to her, not only certain third-party stores were able to inflate their prices without being worried, but this inflation also concerned fifteen products sold directly by the firm of Jeff Bezos.
Public Citizen, for example, observed that the prices of bottles of hydroalcoholic gel “sold by Amazon” had increased by 48%, while a package of fifty surgical masks saw its price inflated by 1,000%.
Asked by The Verge, Amazon admitted the observations of Public Citizen but assures that they are only “errors of price”. The company also recalled that more than 10,000 accounts of people who sold products at abusive prices had been banned since the start of the pandemic.
In order to fight against this phenomenon, Public Citizen asks the platform to give the possibility to view the price history of each item available to its customers, as well as to prevent the creation of new pages for products that already exist.