US News Cartel Office is investigating Amazon for alleged exorbitant prices

18:25  21 september  2020
18:25  21 september  2020 Source:   finanzen.net

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Amazon is currently facing serious allegations of having exploited its market power during the corona crisis. While the group rejects any guilt, consumer advocates clearly condemn the online retailer.

DANIEL ROLAND/AFP/Getty Images © Provided by Finanz.net DANIEL ROLAND / AFP / Getty Images

• Allegedly exorbitant prices at Amazon

• Has Amazon exploited the pandemic for its own gain?

• Amazon rejects guilt

Cartel Office investigates Amazon

A group of antitrust and consumer advocates accuses online retailer Amazon of demanding exorbitant prices for certain items during the pandemic-related lockdown. Likewise, Jeff Bezos's company allegedly failed to properly regulate the high third-party pricing.

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The articles affected apparently included products that were in particularly high demand, such as mouth and nose masks, disinfectants, toilet paper and other paper towels. According to a report by the non-profit organization Public Citizen, Amazon offered its own products in this category with markups of 76 percent to 1,000 percent, while various third-party products were sold via online retailers with markups between 225 percent and 941 percent, according to Public Citizen.

In Germany, too, the Cartel Office is investigating to what extent Amazon could have exploited the pandemic for its own gain. The President of the Cartel Office, Andreas Mundt, commented on the investigation to the FAZ as follows: "We are currently investigating whether and how Amazon influences retailers' pricing on the marketplace. [...] Amazon must not be a price controller. This also applies now". So far, however, no formal offenses have been found, added Mundt.

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Public Citizen with serious allegations

Alex Harman, author of the Public Citizen report, is already harshly telling Fox Business and accusing the company of having deceived society and politics with regard to the price increases. "Amazon has publicly accused third parties of having raised prices, but meanwhile raised the prices of their own products themselves, allowing sellers to raise their prices as well," said Harman.

Compared to CBC News, the online retailer denied any guilt and asserted that they wanted a law that would effectively prevent the disproportionate increase in prices. “There is no place for usury on Amazon, and that includes the products that are directly offered by Amazon. Our system is designed to offer our customers the best online prices available, and if we discover a bug here we work on it quickly to fix this again, "said Amazon to CBC.

Amazon sees no guilt

Even if Amazon rejects any guilt, it is a fact that goods in high demand were sold at high prices. As the Citizen Report points out, packs of 50 masks were offered at a price increase of 1,000 percent when demand was greatest. Disinfectant hand soap sold 470 percent higher and disposable gloves sold 336 percent higher.

To what extent Amazon has to stand for this behavior remains to be seen. The online retailer himself has at least excluded the third party providers involved from the platform. A total of 4,000 sellers have already been banned by Amazon.

Nevertheless, Amazon is not a victim in this usury scandal, but a perpetrator, according to Harman. "Usury is insidious exploitation of those who are most vulnerable, especially during a national emergency. There is no excuse for Amazon as one of the largest and most successful companies in history to enrich itself with vulnerable, frightened consumers," said HarmanHenry Ely / Finanzen.net editorial team

Ten thousandfold suspicion of fraud with Corona aid .
© Robert Michael / dpa-Zentralbild / dpa The Corona emergency aid was intended to secure the economic existence of companies and the self-employed during the Corona crisis. Public prosecutors and investigators take action in more than 10,000 cases across Germany for fraud with Corona emergency aid and other frauds.

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This is interesting!