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Summary (IA Generated)
Amazon has been accused of price gouging on essential items like toilet paper and antibacterial soap in a report by consumer rights group Public Citizen.
Responding to the report, Amazon said that there was “no place for price gouging” on its service, including on products it sells directly.
But the report challenges Amazon’s claims that only third-party listings by “bad actors” have seen price increases on items like face masks and hand sanitizer during the pandemic.
Products listed as “sold by Amazon” have also been affected According to Public Citizen, items listed as “sold by Amazon” saw price increases of anywhere from 48 percent for hand sanitizer (a product category that Amazon said it had placed restrictions on back in March), to 1,000 percent for packs of disposable face masks.
As well as investigating ten essential items listed as sold by Amazon, the report also analyzed eight items sold by third-party sellers.
Here Public Citizen found increases of up to 274 percent for antibacterial soap and 941 percent for flour.
Public Citizen is calling for new federal laws which clearly establish the point at which price increases become price gouging and which items they apply to (Amazon itself called for new federal regulation back in May), but also for Amazon to reform its own listings to make pricing more transparent.
The advocacy group wants Amazon to link to a price history next to each product listing, and end its practice of allowing new product pages to be created for items that are already listed on its service, among other reforms.
In a statement, a spokesperson from Amazon said that Public Citizen’s report had identified a small number of pricing errors.
They said that Amazon has removed “over a million offers for attempted price gouging” and has suspended over 10,000 selling accounts.