Last week, Amazon purged more than 1 million products from its platform because it featured false claims about the coronavirus. Reuters notes the offending listings asserted they could protect against or cure COVID-19. The e-commerce corporation has also taken swift action against third-party sellers that are attempting to profit from epidemic related anxiety.
Amazon’s Coronavirus Crackdown
According to Reuters, Amazon has spent the last few weeks purging falsely advertised coronavirus related products from its platform. Unscrupulous sellers have attempted to make money off the epidemic by offering bogus COVID-19 remedies. In response, the conglomerate has been leading the deceptive listings and banning or suspending their associated merchant accounts.
Amazon has also become beset with pricing-gougers in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Reuters found a listing for a 10-pack of N95 antiviral masks for $128. Previously, other sellers had the same package available for $41.24. Consumer demand for N95 masks has sharply increased because they can filter out 95 percent of airborne particles.
Similarly, the newsgathering organization discovered a two-pack of respirators on sale for $24.99. Comparatively, the average Amazon seller charged $6.65 for the same item. The Seattle, Washington corporation has taken down those listings because it has policies against such pricing tactics.
Even with its ongoing policy compliance crackdown, Amazon is struggling to keep up with misleading merchants. Indeed, Global News found Canadian sellers offering 20-packs of 3M N95 masks for 17 times their standard market value. Besides, Wired reports some venders are attempting to squeeze extra cash from shoppers by inflating their shipping fees.
Currently, Amazon is using a combination of human and automated reviewers to clear duplicitous merchants off its marketplace.
COVID-19 Related Product Shortages
The COVID-19 outbreak has caused more issues for Amazon than an uptick in immoral profiteering. CNBC reports that the epidemic is also causing problems for the e-commerce company’s merchants. Like Samsung and Tesla, the platform’s third-party sellers are encountering supply line issues due to manufacturing plant shutdowns in China.
CNBC spoke to a baseball equipment supplier and a western wear retailer that are quickly and anxiously burning through inventory. While the two merchants are happy with their brisk sales, they don’t know when they’ll be able to replenish their stock. In addition to lost sales, the sellers are concerned that they’ll lose their Amazing rankings if they can’t fulfill their orders.
Besides, a logistics corporation called Unicargo has also suffered due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus. At this time last year, the firm processed 60 to 70 orders every day. However, the Chinese manufacturing facility shutdowns have led to the company only handling 10 daily shipments.
The situation has become so severe, Amazon has intervened. The corporation sent its sellers tips on how to weather the COVID-19, including setting their accounts to “vacation status” to preserve their rankings. Additionally, the conglomerate has also advised its merchants to cancel any orders they can’t meet.
Furthermore, Amazon has started surveying its European and Chinese vendors to understand their current production capacity better. The company’s questionnaire asks sellers about the status of their supply chain, and if they anticipate any forthcoming production delays.