Amazon said Monday that it has already suspended more than 3,900 seller accounts for price-gouging during the coronavirus outbreak, a disclosure that came on the same day President Trump issued an executive order aimed at curtailing the practice.
The e-commerce giant said the banned accounts were all active on its U.S. marketplace and were suspended for “violating our fair pricing policies.” More than 500,000 product listings have been removed over price-related violations related to the outbreak.
“We are constantly monitoring our stores for unfair prices and listings that make false claims in regards to COVID-19,” Amazon said in a blog post. “We have dynamic, automated systems in place that locate and remove unfairly priced items.”
Amazon said that sellers found to have violated its policies are referred to law enforcement agencies for potential action. The company added that it is actively sharing information with federal and state officials to crack down on price-gouging and misleading product listings.
The update came as Americans around the country stock up on critical supplies to contend with the outbreak. Online and traditional retailers have experienced shortages of many key items, including hand sanitizer, face masks and toilet paper.
“We strongly support legislative efforts to ensure unreasonably excessive price increases are illegal during this and other national crises,” the blog post added.
Trump’s executive order was aimed to protect key medical supplies from price-gouging or hoarding that would limit their accessibility to those in need. Individuals who accumulate more items than is reasonably necessary for personal or commercial use could face prosecution.
Earlier this month, Amazon said it would hire 100,000 workers to build out its warehouse and delivery staff amid a surge in demand. In addition, the company has delayed non-essential product shipments for the time being.
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