Amazon sellers are price gouging on essential items

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    Amazon claims it is on alert for price gouging Amazon Sellers ever since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. However, a Digital Trends review found that prices for essentials such as webcams, routers and Ethernet cables are much higher than normal. Prices for products that keep you busy like treadmills and video games consoles are also way above average. ThinkNum, a data blog, reported spikes in prices for Ethernet cables and routers between March and April. Although Ethernet cables are now priced at the retail price, we found some cables that were twice as expensive.

    NPD Group, a market research firm, found that webcam sales increased by 179% in the first three weeks March. While many webcams can be purchased directly through Amazon, third-party sellers often increase their prices. The Logitech C920 sells for approximately $240, more than three times its retail price.

    Another example are the Internet of Things home security camera. ThinkNum reported a price increase in March that more or less stopped, along with an increase in sales. You can find examples everywhere: The Arlo Pro 2 starts at $429 on Arlo. It is currently selling on Amazon for $670 to $770.

    Logitech’s Brio4K camera is $199. Logitech has listings starting at $350 to $490.

    price gouging
    Amazon sellers are price gouging on essential items 2

    Monitors and standing desks, two items people might need for a home office that is well-organized, have also seen a rise in their prices. Home exercise equipment has also seen a spike in its price. CamelCamelCamelCamelCamel reported increases in monitor prices and standing desk prices by third-party sellers at March’s end. Similar trends were observed for home exercise equipment such as treadmills.

    Digital Trends reported previously that Nintendo’s Switch console was being sold for $500 by third-party sellers. The Switch’s listed price on Nintendo’s website, however, is $299.

    Amazon spokeswoman said that while the company was looking for signs of price gouging from sellers at the time, the cost has remained high. ThinkNum reports that the console’s price was above $500 on the weekend. The console could be sold for between $476 and $570 as of Tuesday morning.

    Amazon posted a blog at the end March pledging to “aggressively eliminate bad actors and offers” as well as work with law enforcement in order to “hold price gougers responsible.”

    Amazon claimed it had taken down half a million poor offers from its online stores due to coronavirus-based pricing gouging. Amazon didn’t respond to a request to comment on the number of listings it had taken down or whether it was monitoring specific market segments.

    It pays to research and compare prices before you shop. You might want to take a closer look at out-of-stock items that are available from third party sellers.

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