Marketplaces are warning sellers not to price gouge due to the appetite for certain medical products such as face masks and hand sanitiser due to the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) scare. They are also warning against making unproven health claims.
It’s no surprise that some merchants are jacking up their prices – demand and scarcity is the normal reason for prices to increase and indeed in some cases it will have happened automatically due to repricing solutions taking over. However others may have simply seen the demand and decided that it’s a time where some extra margin can be made and decided to maximise on the opportunity that presents itself.
What marketplaces may have missed however is that for at least some merchants it’s not they themselves that have hiked their prices but suppliers that have increased theirs as stock dwindles. One seller told us that the price for thermometers has risen and they can’t even source any face masks as demand is so high any stock that comes in is instantly snapped up.
“We are paying higher cost prices for thermometers at the moment as suppliers are out to make what profit they can during the outbreak.
And as for masks, we can’t even buy them before someone else beats us to the stock!”
– Marketplace Seller
If you are selling the type of products that could be associated with the Coronavirus, the best advice is to definitely avoid making false health claims but also where possible to keep your prices as reasonable as possible. If you can’t hold prices within a reasonably close range to your normal selling prices, it might be wiser to simply not to list them on marketplaces at the moment. Pop the stock at whatever price you wish to achieve on your own website and if demand really is as high as it appears and the stock is as scarce as has been reported then buyers will find you, especially if you make sure you stock is highlighted on major search engines and price comparison sites.
Coronovirus statements from marketplaces
“Considering the global developments associated with Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and our dedication to delivering a safe and trusted marketplace, we would like to remind you of eBay’s Listing Policies:
- Health claims and misuse of keywords: titles and item descriptions containing health claims and misusing terms such as “Coronavirus”, “Covid-19”, ‘Virus”, “epidemic” are prohibited.
- Prices inflated over prevailing market value: listings that attempt to profit from tragedies and disasters (such as the Coronavirus outbreak) are prohibited.
- Laws and Regulations: we recognise this is a fast changing situation. We advise sellers to always check local laws and regulations when listing. We will continue to monitor the situation globally and provide further updates as necessary.
eBay requests that all sellers who have live listings offering items such as face masks, hand sanitizer gel or wipes, etc., review their listings and make sure that they comply with eBay Listing policies.
Activity that doesn’t follow eBay Listing policies could result in a range of actions, such as eBay ending or cancelling your relevant listings, hiding or demoting all listings from search results, lowering your seller rating, enforcing buying or selling restrictions, or suspending your account.
To learn more about the policies and make sure your listings are compliant, we invite you to read our three most relevant policies on this topic: Prescription and over-the-counter drugs policy, Disaster and Tragedy policy, Search manipulation policy.
– The eBay team
“You received this message since you might be offering for sale products related to the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) emergency, such as hand sanitisers and safety masks. We would like to remind you that all Selling Partners must follow our Fair Pricing Policy, and there is no place for price gouging on Amazon. A violation of this policy will result in the removal of your offer and/or of your selling privileges in order to protect customers on our store.
– Amazon Services Team