Amazon pushes for federal law against price gouging during coronavirus pandemic and other national emergencies

Online retailer Amazon, criticized for not appearing rapidly sufficient to curb sellers who charged tons of of {dollars} for high-demand hand sanitizer during the early section of the brand new coronavirus pandemic, urged Congress on Wednesday to cross a law against price gouging during occasions of national emergency.

Price-gouging is just not normally unlawful however might be in sure states if there may be an emergency, like during a hurricane or the present pandemic.

In a weblog submit, Brian Huseman, a vp of public coverage at Amazon, famous that totally different states had totally different definitions of gouging and that some struggle gouging utilizing consumer-protection statutes.

“The disparate standards among states present a significant challenge for retailers working to assist law enforcement, protect consumers, and comply with the law,” Huseman wrote.

A gaggle of 32 US state attorneys normal wrote to Amazon in March and to Walmart, Facebook and eBay, urging that they do extra to cease gouging.

In March, some sellers on Amazon charged $400, or extra, for a field of small bottles of Purell hand sanitizer.

In response to the price-gouging criticism, Huseman mentioned Amazon had eliminated greater than a half million objects from shops, suspended almost 4,000 promoting accounts within the US retailer and given data to federal prosecutors and state attorneys about sellers that Amazon suspects put excessively excessive costs on merchandise in excessive demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Huseman argued for a law that will come into pressure if a national emergency is asserted, be enforced by the Federal Trade Commission and the states, and outline gouging.