“We do not tolerate price gouging on eBay."
In a bid to stop people from profiting from the Coronavirus pandemic, online auction site eBay has introduced tough new rules.
The crisis has led to many things coming to a halt, however, some people have been taking advantage of the situation by increasing the prices of essential items.
It was prevalent in some shops, especially in Asian supermarkets where items such as rice were being sold for £40.
It is also evident online on sites like eBay. Ordinary household goods at extortionate prices were recorded on auctions marked ‘sold’ as desperate customers faced empty supermarket shelves.
eBay has now taken action in a bid to clamp down on people trying to profit from the situation.
As well as introducing tough rules, they have also suspended hundreds of accounts.
Prior to the new rules, household items were being sold for thousands of pounds.
£1,300 for 4 500g boxes of spaghetti
£21,300 for a tub of follow-on baby milk
£24,300 for two 118ml bottles of hand sanitiser
£30,500 for a can of Dettol antibacterial spray
£49,700 for a bottle of ‘luxurious’ scented handwash
£65,100 for just 8 rolls of Andrex 3-ply toilet roll
It is prices like these that have led eBay to restrict the sales of certain items to a small ‘whitelist’ of business sellers only, including:
- Face masks
- Hand sanitiser
- Toilet roll
- Baby formula
- Baby wipes
Rob Hattrell, eBay UK Vice-President, said:
“We do not tolerate price gouging on eBay. For almost two months we have been introducing increasingly tougher measures to tackle this deplorable practice and will continue to suspend the accounts of those who try to exploit other users.
“The team that is monitoring and enforcing our policies has been more than doubled and we will continue to implement our zero-tolerance stance.
“eBay is a marketplace that depends on our seller community, so we hope that these measures will deter the instances of poor behaviour we have seen.
“The wellbeing of our users in the UK has always and will always be eBay’s priority.”
“We are absolutely dedicated to ensuring everyone can find the products they need at reasonable prices during this difficult time.”
Since the new rules were implemented, many of the items are priced near to what they usually retail for.
As of April 2020, boxes of pasta are now selling for £4.99 and 60 rolls of toilet paper is listed at £22.99.
However, hand sanitiser, which remains a sought after item for many, is still quite expensive compared to pre-Coronavirus times.
Despite the restrictions, some people continue to ignore them and as a result, high prices are still being paid.
This includes £7,300 for a 500g bag of Napolina penne pasta and £102 for a bag of Tesco plain flour.
Mr Hattrell added: “We will continue to review our policies in this area, and if necessary, will take even further action to ensure customers only see fairly priced items.”