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Amazon Urges US Congress For New Federal Law Against Price Gouging During National Crisis

Amazon Urges US Congress For New Federal Law Against Price Gouging During National Crisis
With the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, there has been an explosion of demand for crucial goods like hand sanitizer and N95 masks particularly on online platforms like That surge in demand also prompted many suppliers to inflate prices of these goods. In context of this situation, Amazon has now urged the Unites States Congress to pass a law to make price inflating or gouging illegal during period of national crisis such as the coronavirus pandemic.
Amazon’s own ongoing efforts to try to crack down on price gouging were highlighted in an open letter posted by Brian Huseman, Amazon’s VP of public policy. The company has been very proactive in implementing its Fair Pricing Policy and as a consequence the largest e-commerce platform has not removed half a million price-gouged listings from its online stores while also banning more than 4,000 seller accounts on its US store alone till date, the company said.
The online market place owning company has also set up a special line of communication for state attorneys general so that price gouging complaints could directly passed on the relevant authorities, company CEO Jeff Bezos noted in a letter to investors.
But that is as much as it can do on its own, Amazon has said. it has found itself to get limited in its efforts to eliminate on price gouging in the United States because of the inconsistent state standards on the issue. The company said that while about two-thirds of the US states currently have rules and regulations that prevent the raising prices during times of crisis, there is a general high inconsistency in such rules between states. The company said that while it canon its own remove and ban as many sellers over violation of its price gouging policy, but those steps cannot be most often not followed up by subsequent legal consequences to ensure regulations of prices of crucial goods.
If there is a Federal law, it would ensure that there are “no gaps in protection for consumers” and would help Amazon and other retailers to “more effectively prevent bad actors and ensure fair prices”, the company said.
Amazon said that its call to the Congress and its proposal on prevention of price gouging would see a price gouging law that “should kick in immediately when the federal government declares a public health crisis or national emergency, which will leave no room for doubt for businesses and enforcement agencies. It should also establish clear pricing standards, define who and what are covered by the law, and ensure strong enforcement authority.”
Analysts also see Amazon’s own effort to shield itself form charges of price gouging by asking for a Federal law because such as legislation would make sure that only the seller that sets higher or inflated prices such as a bad third-party Amazon retailer are held liable for such crimes of intentional price inflation while the marketplace such as Amazon that hosts the seller and facilitates the sale are not pinned the blame.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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