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Senator Ed Markey has called on Amazon to better police its online marketplace regarding coronavirus-connected price gouging. The Senator criticized the company regarding its inconsistent response to coronavirus related price inflation on Amazon’s third-party e-commerce platform.

Senator Markey asks Amazon to do more in policing its marketplace

In a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the Senator asked the CEO to offer more information regarding the steps the company has taken to crack down on price gouging on face masks and hand sanitizer. Markey also sought to understand how the company determines whether product listings are unfairly priced. For instance, Markey indicates that a box of sanitizer that could normally go for $10 is being priced at $400.

Although Amazon has been removing some of the listings as per its fair price policy, Markey still feels that the company needs to do more to protect consumers. According to Markey, there are reported of ongoing price gouging and lack of transparency, which is leaving consumers exposed to discriminatory trade practices.

Sellers inflated prices of masks and sanitizers on the growing demand

Markey’s letter comes days after CNBC reported that e-commerce companies such as Amazon and Walmart were not doing enough to deal with third-party sellers who are overpricing their products. This comes as a result of the increase in demand as concerns of the spread of coronavirus continue to grow.

The sellers are accused of inflating prices of facemasks, hand sanitizes, and hazmat suits, among other items. For instance, an N95 face mask that could normally be sold at $13.28 had its price inflated to $195. This was before the products ran out of stock on the platform.

An Amazon spokesperson acknowledged the concerns of senator Markey stating that there is no place for gouging on their platform. The spokesperson indicated that they are policing their marketplace, and so far, they have removed several offers that tried price gouging. The statement further indicated that Amazon was disappointed that there were people who were taking advantage of the health crisis.