Attorney General Schmitt and Amazon Announce Partnership to Monitor and Combat Coronavirus Price Gouging
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Amazon are announcing a partnership aimed at monitoring and combating price gouging related to COVID-19. The Attorney General’s Office and representatives from Amazon will communicate regularly about consumer complaints and potential price gouging by third-party sellers on Amazon’s marketplace. Amazon will also provide market analysis and other aid to help identify individuals who are using the Amazon marketplace in Missouri to spike prices on COVID-19-related items.
“Many people rely on Amazon and we’re happy to partner with them to protect all Missouri citizens. Combating the virus, while ensuring that our people are safe and protected, needs to be a team effort,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “With this partnership, scammers should know that the Missouri Attorney General’s Office and Amazon are watching them closely and will take action wherever possible.”
“We do not tolerate attempts by bad actors to artificially raise prices on essential goods during a global health crisis,” said Brian Huseman, Amazon Vice President of Public Policy. “Amazon works around the clock to proactively monitor and remove offers that violate our policies. We value our partnership with Attorney General Schmitt and the state of Missouri to prosecute anyone who tries to take advantage of customers.”
With this partnership:
- The lines of communication have been opened, and the Missouri Attorney General’s Office will send consumer complaints related to Amazon sellers in Missouri directly to Amazon for them to further investigate.
- Amazon is currently analyzing sales data to identify any bad actors in Missouri who are trying to profiteer off of the health and safety of Missouri citizens. Amazon will be sharing that information with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office for potential legal action.
Amazon has also proactively provided information to the Missouri Attorney General’s Office about their efforts currently to combat price gouging and profiteering on their site. While Amazon does sell some products directly to the consumers, it also provides a forum for third-party sell to sell products. There are certainly price fluctuations in times of crisis, and the vast majority of these sellers provide convenient and affordable products. But as with any third-party seller, there are isolated incidents where some try to profit off of the fear and uncertainty that come with times of crisis.
Amazon already has 24/7 monitoring measures in place to combat and remediate these situations, but in light of the Coronavirus, they have enhanced their systems by including additional manual, pulling down products that are out of line, and suspending the accounts of those who are exhibiting repeated bad behavior.
As a result, Amazon has removed hundreds of thousands of high-priced offers on in-demand supplies from its stores and millions of products that make unsupported claims about coronavirus. They have also suspended thousands of accounts of sellers who have engaged in price gouging.
Attorney General Schmitt recently sent several consumer alerts relating to COVID-19 scams and medical supply chain price gouging. Information on those consumer alerts can be found at ago.mo.gov.
Missourians are also urged to report any instances of price gouging or other scams to the Missouri Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at by calling 1-800-392-8222 or by filing a complaint online at https://ago.mo.gov/app/consumercomplaint.