COVID-19 Price Gouging and How to Avoid It
Price gouging is the charging of an excessive amount for goods or services to a level considered unethical. People pay obscene prices when they feel they have no other choice. With the onset of the COVID-19, pandemic price gouging has occurred because people have been in a state of panic. They feel they need to buy certain products at any price in fear they won’t be able to find the product anywhere else.
Here are four examples of price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic:
According to US News and World Reports, a convenience store was selling toilet paper for $10 a roll with a sign next to it reading, “This is not a joke.” Under normal conditions, one could buy a 12 pack of Charmin Mega rolls at Walmart for about the same price.
Two men from Tennessee traveled over 1000 miles across Tennessee and Kentucky buying thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer which they resold for $8 to $70 each. A 30oz bottle of Germ-X hand sanitizer is available from Walmart for $3.97.
Home Gym Weight Plates
While under a stay at home order for the last two months, I’ve been building a home gym. Checking the exercise equipment section at Walmart whenever I happened to be in the store, I found sets of two, 25 pound weight plates for $50 (or $1 a pound). The same set plates on Amazon are currently priced at $180.
Home Gym Barbell
I purchased a Gold’s Gym light duty 7 foot Olympic barbell at Walmart for $40. I found the same piece of equipment available on ebay for $299.99.
Thousands of items have been removed from online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay citing price gouging concerns. However, there are still inflated prices to be found. Here’s what you can do to make sure you do not fall victim to grossly overpaying for something online:
- Do Research: Search reputable retailers for the same product. Even if they are out of stock, they will still list the product and the every day price. This gives you a good point of comparison.
- Be Patient: If the price is inflated, keep looking. Keep searching online, or find out when brick and mortar stores stock their shelves and go as close to that time as possible.
- Report Offenders: If you do see someone selling products unethically, file a report with the Better Business Bureau.
Price gougers prey on people’s fear. Most of the time that fear is unfounded, and products can be found at their normal prices if you simply look around and be patient.
How about you, Clever Friends, have you seen examples of COVID-19 price gouging?
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