Amazon and eBay have restricted dealers that sell face masks, alcohol, and other health products. The decision, revealed in a note sent to dealers on Wednesday and reviewed through The Verge and CNBC, is a significant escalation in the eCommerce's fight against price gouging and deceptive marketing on its e-commerce platform due to the continuing coronavirus outbreak.
The organizations sent a note to dealers Thursday that said it's blocking new listings for surgical masks --- which include N95 and N100 masks --- hand sanitizers, and disinfecting wipes "effectively immediately."
The decision, which only applies to U.S. Listings, was made due to worries that inflated expenses for these products might violate of price gouging laws. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Wednesday issued an alert to shoppers, reminding them of the state's price gouging guidelines. Different states have similar methods to price gouging, too. Issuing a blanket ban was viewed as a new solution to the problem, rather than enforcing a charge gouging cap on personal items.
Amazon won't accept new applications to sell these health-related items
Amazon says that remaining inventory of those products in its fulfillment centers are eligible for compensation of the return or disposal fees. Still, sellers will have to create a so-known as removal order to get that processed. The reimbursement window begins today and lasts until May 31, 2020. Amazon also urges the dealers to contact its customer care line if they believe they're being improperly targeted under the new coverage.
It's still unclear what criteria the company is using to allow third-party sellers to offer these products. Still, it sounds as though Amazon is final all programs for brand new listings. The eCommerce giant will only permit existing sellers who haven't run afoul of its fair pricing policy to continue selling these items.
Amazon has, in recent weeks, started cracking down on coronavirus-related abuse on its platform. It has also removed millions of items for making fake coronavirus claims. Amazon additionally started removing hundreds of listings over price gouging and banning sellers who jacked up expenses on health items.
eBay prioritizes employee, client safety
eBay has also stepped up its efforts to save you from price gouging by banning all face masks and hand sanitizers from its site.
An eBay spokesperson told CNBC in a statement that the protection of its employees and clients across the globe is its first priority.
"We are making every effort to ensure that anyone who sells on our platform follows local laws and eBay policies," the spokesperson added.
The spokesperson said that eBay is likewise "taking significant measures to block or quickly put off objects" on its marketplace that make unsubstantiated clinical claims. eBay had taken down more than 20,000 items for making false health claims about the coronavirus.
eBay has been the usage of digital and guide surveillance tools to eliminate listings that make fake health claims, along with products marketed with the term "coronavirus," "COVID-19″ and "2019nCoV," aside from books. Before the crackdown, there have been pandemic and epidemic survival kits on eBay, alongside with face masks and other shielding tools that incorrectly marketed the products as "coronavirus production."
Other e-commerce platforms, including Etsy and Walmart, were hit by price gouging and dealers presenting products with misleading medical claims. All the agencies stated the products were in violation of their regulations and had suspended or taken down listings.