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Coronavirus: have you spotted dubious products and surge pricing?

Amazon has removed ‘tens of thousands’ of dodgy coronavirus products from sale. Have you spotted dubious products, surge pricing and sold out items?

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, some unscrupulous sellers have looked to take advantage by selling misleading, unnecessary and, in some cases, fake products on sites such as Amazon.

Coronavirus outbreak: your travel questions answered

Amazon says it has removed ‘tens of thousands’ of products from sale, some of which have even included fake treatments and cures for Covid-19.

While work is being done to remove these products, it would appear that some are slipping through. We spotted a ‘coronavirus test for dogs and cats’ being sold for as much as £43.82.

More concerning, perhaps, is that a reviewer even claimed to have bought and used it on themselves. It would appear that Amazon has now removed the product from sale.

Have you spotted a questionable product relating to the virus for sale on Amazon or anywhere else? If so, let us know in the comments.

Surge pricing and high demand

Along with dubious products, we’ve also seen examples of surge pricing and the high demand of antibacterial products.

A multipack of Carex hand sanitiser was spotted on sale at around 10 times its normal price, while a six-pack of Clinell wipes has been seen for as much as £198.99 from a 3rd-party marketplace seller.

Away from Amazon, we’ve been receiving a number of reports of shops completely selling out of anti-bacterial hand gel.

Which? has checked major retailers and found that most have indeed sold out across many stores. Boots has put a limit on the amount one customer can buy at any time.

If you can’t find any, don’t panic; washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water is the best option.

With hand gel disappearing from the shelves, it now appears to be being sold for hugely inflated prices on eBay:

A quick look at the site this morning shows prices up to £20 for just one bottle.

Have you spotted dubious coronavirus-related products on sale online or even in the shops? If so, what were they? And what do they claim to be able to do?

Seen a product on sale at an extreme price? Let us know in the comments.

Deke says:
23 March 2020

It’s at times like this that you come to appreciate the majors. Some of their prices might be a little bit of a rip off, but at least they stick to that little bit of a rip off. My local Co-op hasn’t changed its prices one iota on any of the things I buy.

Of course, a lot of them are completely out of stock…

sanmo says:
23 March 2020

8 pack Plenty Original kitchen towels £49.99 ! Should be less than £8, but £16 at the very most. Amazon partner. 22nd march .

JJMMWG DuPree says:
23 March 2020

I’ve still got an unopened pack of those from back when they were called ‘Bounty’. I’d drastically over-estimated the rate we’d be using them at.

JJMMWG DuPree says:
23 March 2020

Apparently a couple of brothers in the US who scoured two states buying up all the ‘essentials’ they could get their hands on to resell at a profit are being prosecuted. Their state has a law against it.

We need one of those.

23 March 2020

A shop where I buy sacks of potatoes have increased the prices in the last 2wks from £5.90 to £7.00. Not a massive increase but they were £5.90 all last year. We have also been trying to get tins of corned beef so out of curiosity I looked on Amazon to see what they had to offer & I nearly died of shock when I saw the ridiculous prices. There are 2 different prices even though the seller is the same for both. They are selling 3pks of 190g tins of Libby corned beef; 1 is £110.53 & £3.99 delivery, the other 1 is £118.69 & £3.99 delivery!!!!!!!! This is a complete rip-off in my opinion regardless of the fact that they are from the USA. I have to self-isolate for 12wks so not sure of what other items have increased in price as I am having trouble getting shopping done online due to no delivery slots

Isabela Bealcu says:
24 March 2020

Hello, been searching for calpol infant, 2 months +, and resorted to search on amazon or ebay. I found a lot of overpriced calpol on ebay, 1 bottle which is less than 5£, is sold at 667£, and it is just unfair. People, parents need it for their babies, and in desperate times they will pay that huge amount and it is just wrong…

Sue Diment says:
24 March 2020

I have seen a 46 pack of toilet rolls for £99.99 on EBay.

Jim says:
24 March 2020

BA have cancelled flights I bought on their sale for 169 pounds to Helsinki on June 22nd. To book a replacement flight on the same day is now 673 pounds. Is this price gouging? It seems very unfair.

Mac says:
24 March 2020

Spent 8 hours in the Ocado queue, got to 200 or so out of 15,000, then Ocado said tough, go away and closed the site.
Waitrose also no help at all. Sainsbury likewise.
I understand why they are looking after their customers, but surely a little less for them would enable new customers to get something rather than nothing.
Selfish and short-sighted.
Anyone having joy with Tesco?
M&S say they are using BP stores with Deliveroo – except they are not. At least not in my area.

Have any of these supermarkets actually taken on board the fact that there are millions of 70+ self-isolators with medical conditions who might actually like something to eat?!!!

I’ve been thorough the two hour Ocado queue about six times Mac. No joy at all with Tesco despite about 20 attempts. I’ve tried the lot except Sainsbury, which does not deliver in this area as far as I know. Eventually I managed to place an order with Morrisons for 11 April, though I have to collect it.

The government must act to avoid the risk that those infected with the virus don’t go to their local shop or supermarket out of desperation.

I have just sent an email to Ocado CEO in reply to theirs in which they stated they are giving consideration to the elderly and vulnerable. As a regular customer, I see no evidence of any easy prioritised access for vulnerable people who are undergoing an enforced 12 week isolation in accordance with government instructions to relieve the burden on the NHS.

Hi Beryl – We have not seen you here for a while. I hope you are well.

Hello Beryl,
Nice to see you, hope you are keeping well.

Just popping in Wavechange to show solidarity at such a difficult time for everyone.

I think things are a bit more comfortable here now, Beryl, so please stay tuned-in and feel free to join the Conversations if you have a spare moment.

Great to see you back Beryl – hope you’re doing as well as can be during these unusual times.

Hi Beryl, lovely to see you again! I hope you are keeping well.

My mum has had the same problem. She can’t get a slot either.

Thank you all or your warm welcome back messages.

At such difficult unprecedented times it certainly highlights some of the inherent false promises and tactics used in order to gain higher competitive ratings, thereby procuring more consumer interest, but the reality is often quite different when under pressure to comply.

Hi Beryl, nice to see you back. I trust you are well.

Thanks Derek 🙂

Have just received a home delivery order from Argos – left on the door step because of Coronavirus self isolation and driver was back in van – drove off as soon as I opened the door. Packaging of item was damaged, manufacturer’s tape previously opened and, on inspection, the item had clearly been out of the packaging before – internal packaging damaged where item had been forced back previously and mains cable in complete disarray – due to ‘Coronavirus’, Argos appear to be completely non contactable – even the delivery phone number is not being answered! Are Argos taking this as an opportunity to shift their shoddy goods? – Is this a practice likely to be adopted by other online delivery companies?

Mark Graham says:
26 March 2020

Corona virus profiteering by British Airways ?.
Recently my wife and I were in the USA when the USA Government announced flights from the UK to USA would cease at Midnight on Monday March 16. Since were due to return on March 18, we had to re-book our return flight. I was unable to speak to anyone in BA, so I used the ‘Manage My Booking’ function via the BA website – I was able to change the date of our departure but at a cost of £1700.00 – yes that is correct, £17K to change the departure date of a flight I had already paid for. In the end, and because I could not speak to anyone in BA, I was left with no choice so I booked 2 new one-way flights home at a cost of $8000.00 (circa £6500.00). On the return flight I spoke to the Cabin Services Manager who sent a message to BA on my behalf. I got a response in which the cost of £1700 was defended on the basis that BA have to ensure their routes are profitable – a totally crass response made worse by the current unprecedented times, but that is what we have all come to expect from British Airways these days. Possibly the worst example of COVID-19 profiteering ?

Mark Graham says:
27 March 2020

To clarify – BA wanted to charge me £17000.00 ! to change the booking Yes seventeen thousand pounds (mistakenly I wrote £1700 in my original post).

John Clowes says:
26 March 2020

I always use clinell universal wipes around the house. I pay around £7 from amazon. The last I had was December. Went to order another pack today it’s in stock, which is a surprise, but it’s over £22

Phil says:
Today 10:10

Anyone else noticed how the first items to be re-stocked are supermarket own brand products? It’s been happening at my local Tesco – both express & superstore. Started with the loo roll, now spotted tuna fish too. I seriously doubt the bigger brands can’t meet demand, looks like profiteering to me.