Ebay is imposing “Emergency Listing Restrictions” to help tackle price gouging on its platform amid calls for online sellers to do more.
The online marketplace informed its sellers this week that it will be bringing in these emergency selling restrictions on items including face masks, hand sanitisers and cleaning wipes and pads.
From now on any sellers, whether they are a business or a private seller, must be approved by Ebay to sell these items, and any listings from unapproved parties will be blocked with and their accounts may be suspended.
“Business and Private sellers who have listed these items will be notified by email today (23.03.2020) to inform them if they are approved or unapproved,” Ebay told sellers on Monday.
“Please note, only a small number of approved Business sellers will be permitted to sell these products on the UK platform with immediate effect.
“If you are not approved to sell these items, you will find your existing listings blocked or removed. Attempts to list in these categories may result in your account being suspended. All listings that are not in line with our current policies will be removed without further notice.”
Approved sellers will also be required to list their items in very specific categories in order for them not to be removed.
Face masks must be listed under “medical, lab and dental supplies”, while hand sanitisers must be listed under “health care”.
It is understood that Ebay could extend the range of essential goods covered by the emergency measures later this week.
This comes as after UK consumer watchdog Which? slammed Ebay and Amazon for failing to do enough to tackle price gouging on their platforms.
The consumer lobby group said it had found overpricing of cleaning products, thermometers, baby formula and tampons.
In several cases, prices were around 10 times what shoppers would normally expect to pay and in some instances the price inflation was even higher.
Which? said online marketplaces should be bringing in stricter controls to identify and prevent sellers charging unjustifiable high prices for essentials – and policies must be communicated clearly and directly with sellers.