/ Shopping

Have you spotted coronavirus profiteering?

We’ve found that Amazon and eBay are still failing to get to grips with blatant coronavirus price-gouging. We’re now calling for urgent government action.

10/04/2020: Time for government action

More than a month after the competition regulator raised the alarm, and despite a warning from the Prime Minister, we’ve found widespread evidence of sellers hawking household items for rip-off prices.

It’s time for the government, working with the CMA, to step in with strong action to stamp out price-gouging and keep the price of vital goods reasonable.

Do you agree that the government needs to step in and put a stop to this? Have you spotted further examples of price gouging?

Let us know in the comments and help us stamp this out.

03/03/2020: Have you spotted dubious products/surge pricing?

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.

Linda Brennan says:
17 April 2020

It is disgusting that some people are actually trying to profit at the misfortune of others..

B day says:
17 April 2020

Totally support any effort to stop profiteering and putting pressure on Amazon and EBay to stop rip offs. They should be pressured into being more responsible, taking action rather than bland soundbites and the government should intervene if they don’t- as in France

One of the chemists in Farnham Surrey was charging £25 for a 100ml hand sanitiser. It was in an unmarked bottle and they were accepting cash only.

They were also selling paracetamol tablet strips at £1/strip, not boxed which is illegal I think.

I reported to Trading Standards and the Pharmaceutical Council

Not just online but in most shops and supermarkets as well. Asda increased the price of juice from £2 to £3.50p and a jar of Pasta Sauce from £2 to £2.75p. I witnessed these increases in-store as the ‘colleague’ changed them, then I emailed Roger Burnley. CEO and asked why. So far he has failed to respond or acknowledge my email.

Having been ill with the suspected virus for the last 2 weeks, I have spent a lot of time trawling through eBay to find items that people are selling for extreme profit (price gouging), including passata normally retailing at 35p/each from B&M being sold at £5.99 for 2 packs and £4 refill pouches of Dettol for refilling antibacterial spray bottles at £48 for 2! I reported these and many, many other items to Ebay, most of which were still for sale when checking days later. What makes me so cross, apart from the absolutely disgusting behaviour of the sellers profiting in this way, is that I, as one person, was able to find these items quickly and report them. Why can’t eBay with their large teams of people and algorithms find them? Maybe it’s because eBay will also profit from the inflated prices as they always take a percentage of every sale!!!

Dr. L. C. Lane says:
17 April 2020

I was amazed to see the price of Dettol Laundry cleanser almost treble in price on the Amazon website, within the space of about five minutes! Other prices (for flour, etc.) have also taken off. Amazon needs to get a grip of its suppliers. It’s doing Amazon’s usually good reputation no good at all!

Investigate QVC advertising Vinyl protective gloves at £25 + postage for a box of 100!

Just search ‘Hand Sanitiser’ on Amazon and the very first page is all price gouged. It’s a shame there is no way to show these companies up as gougers permanently so they can be boycotted and taught a lesson after the Coronovirus lockdown. maybe Which can suggest to Amazon and Ebay that people can give them a ‘medal’ that they have to wear on their listings to reflect their greedy morally defunct practises.

I have been looking for Dettol Anti-Bacterial Spray. The full price for a 750m bottle is £2.50. I have seen many inflated prices on line. Here is one on website “OnBay.com”. Three 750m bottles £45.94. Delivery is 6th – 12th MAY or go for priority delvery for an extra £34.00 !

Neil Smith says:
18 April 2020

How about the government giving themselves yet another 10% increase AND a £50,000 bonus on their (unearned) pension. If that’s not profiteering I would like to know what is.

Winedealsdirect are not being up front about their delivery timescales and are not answering specific questions as to WHEN the order will be sent. They take the money at the point of sale and state that they endeavor to deliver next day or as near too! However in a smaller tab they state 7 to 28 days for delivery which is totally unreasonable given the couriers they use are working 24/7 at the moment and only delayed by 2 – 5 days at best on SOME orders! This company needs looking into as they profess friendly helpful service but from previous Trust pilot reviews it appears they are anything but friendly and helpful. Some people have not received any wine at all and money was taken!

Helen Taylor says:
19 April 2020

Just look at eBay bread flour, self raising flour and dried yeast. Between 2 and 4 sachets of dried yeast being sold for over £7, own supermarket brand of s/r flour offered for £23 plus postage.

I don’t know why anyone is getting upset about the price! The fact is that most of these traders are breaking the law by selling food illegally on eBay. Food traders must:

– Register with their Local Authority 28 days before trading

– Disclose their full business address and geographical location

These regulations are there for a reason. How do you think LAs could enforce food hygiene standards in premises they cannot inspect?

Sellers must also provide a full list of ingredients of what they are selling, exactly as per the manufacturer’s packaging – not just the brand name and general description.

Look at what else they are selling on eBay. Does it look like a food business?

As I said, the price is almost immaterial. Who wants to risk their family’s health buying food from potentially hazardous sources? How is a recall going to work if the manufacturer cannot trace the product through their distribution chain? Do you think vendors repackaging foods are copying the batch numbers across? Could the manufacturer be held to account for glass, metal, insects or allergens present in these repackaged goods?

Just move on and do not even consider buying food from eBay sellers, unless they can be seen to be fully compliant with the regulations.

What makes it worse is they are splitting a sealed box and the selling the contents separately.

Asda now selling Self Raising flour, small supply but back on the shelves.

I have found below on Amazon UK. which I believe is approximately 300% above a similar ‘Waitrose’ Tunnock’s pricing at £0.5. per 100g.
. . . . . .
Tunnock’s Real Milk Chocolate Caramel Wafer Biscuits 37 g (Pack of 36)
by Thomas Tunnocks
4.2 out of 5 stars 41 ratings
Price: £19.99 (£15.01 / kg) FREE delivery.

A month ago tried to buy my usual Flahavan’s Irish Porridge Oats on Tesco website that costs about £2 but not available. Emailed a friend who asked, “Is this it” & showed it on eBay being sold by ahproducts for £14.60p. Emailed the Irish company to ask if they knew their product was being sold at extortionist prices on eBay but got no reply.

Tesco lists Flahavans Irish Organic Porridge 1kg at £2.30 and a selection of other porridge oats. That does not mean that all stores will have it in stock but as people stop panic buying stocks will improve.

On amazon someone is selling a 750 g box of Kellogg’s Special K for £14.99 PLUS £5 delivery ( it was marked at £19.99 plus £5 delivery) the day before I sent company a message to confirm there’s only one box in the order) I have not had a reply from them unsurprisingly. They retail at £3 per box.

Nancy says:
20 April 2020

I just tried to report price gouging to amazon which I found a bag of flour costing £2 on Tesco’s same product on amazon £24 they told me that there was nothing they could do , this is shameful I’ll be cancelling everything with them

Mrs Michele Collin says:
20 April 2020

Dettol Power & Pure Bathroom Cleaner Spray 1 Litre selling for £18.84 on Amazon- Tomi.Deals. What a deal indeed!

I saw on TV news today(not sure which channel I was skipping) a tearful Care Home manager reporting that she had to source PPE and items that were £1 each were now costing anything up to £8 each.Of course the Care Home can not afford this.Does this money back rule apply to them.If it does could you inform Care services?

Linda Moore says:
21 April 2020

Although not in the same league as some examples of price gouging in medicine and food items, the price of Ronseal and Sandtex outdoor paint on Amazon has increased from approx £18 to £39.99 for a 750 ml can. Other brands of outdoor items like fence/shed paints also affected. Merchants obviously taking advantage of the fact furloughed workers are trying to catch-up on DIY jobs. Other suppliers still offering at normal prices so shop around and don’t be caught out. If you can’t get the colour you want leave it til next year!!

David Litchfield says:
22 April 2020

I bought a dust mask in early March for use with my woodwork. Standard price for refills is around £10 but they are unobtainable if you are not an NHS worker -a good policy. They are £28 on eBay and available. eBay need to work harder.