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Amazon Steps Up Battle Against Price Gouging

Amazon Steps Up Battle Against Price Gouging
As COVID-19 cases increase, signs are emerging that consumers are again pantry loading.

With another wave of pantry loading underway during the pandemic, Amazon reportedly is keeping a close eye on marketplace price gougers.

According to Fox Business, “Amazon is stepping up its policing forces in removing offers and suspending seller accounts for price gouging. Since the onset of the pandemic, Amazon has removed over a million products.”

The early months of the pandemic brought price-gouging lawsuits against some food retailers as consumers stocked up on essential items — not only food products, but also household essentials. Now, as COVID-19 cases increase, signs are emerging that consumers are again pantry loading. For instance, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told the audience at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit in late October that “it will be choppy for months to come as we all deal with the volatility and as things change.”

More than half of Americans said that they're stockpiling groceries or plan to stockpile over worries about supply-chain disruptions due to COVID-19 surges and political unrest amid the presidential election. According to an October report from White Plains, New York-based market research firm Sports and Leisure Research Group, roughly 52% of Americans plan to stockpile this fall. 

“We are disappointed that bad actors are attempting to take advantage of this global health crisis and, in addition to removing these offers, have suspended more than 10,000 selling accounts,” an Amazon representative told Fox Business. “We have referred the most egregious offenders to federal and state law enforcement across the country to hold them accountable. We continue to actively monitor our store and remove offers that violate our policies.”

Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while its wholly owned subsidiary, Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods, is No. 24 and Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart U.S. is No. 1.

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