eBay is forbidding new listings of hand sanitizer and face masks over concerns of online price gouging due to the coronavirus

Crystal Cox/Business Insider‘We are making every effort to ensure that anyone who sells on our platform follows local laws and eBay policies,’ a company spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider.
  • eBay is prohibiting sales of specialised face masks and hand sanitizer in the face of the coronavirus outbreak, CNBC first reported on Friday.
  • The ban against all “new listings for hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and surgical masks, including N95 and N100 masks” took effect in response to concerns over price gouging.
  • An eBay spokesperson told Business Insider the company “is taking significant measures to block or quickly remove items on our marketplace that make false health claims.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

eBay has barred its sellers from posting new listings in the United States for products associated with the coronavirus outbreak, including face masks and hand sanitizer.

On Thursday, the e-commerce giant released a statement to the eBay community, saying that “due to regulatory restrictions across the United States” around price gouging, it would “block new listings and start to remove listings” for N95 masks, N100 masks, surgical masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes.

“We will continue to monitor the evolving situation and quickly remove any listing that mentions COVID-19, coronavirus, 2019nCoV (except books) in the title or description,” the statement read.

CNBC was first to report about the announcement on Friday.

“Like so many companies, we have been closely monitoring the coronavirus issue as it continues to develop,” an eBay spokesperson told Business Insider in a statement. “As always, our first priority is to ensure the safety of our employees and customers around the world.”

The company spokesperson said that the e-commerce giant is “is taking significant measures to block or quickly remove items on our marketplace that make false health claims.”

That means monitoring the site to ensure that products marketed as being related to the outbreak do not violate either eBay’s policies or state laws barring price gouging. eBay itself is based in San Jose, California, a state that just enacted both a State of Emergency over the coronavirus and a consumer alert regarding epidemic-related price gouging.

“We are making every effort to ensure that anyone who sells on our platform follows local laws and eBay policies,” the spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider.

On the personnel front, eBay is also nixing non-essential cross-border business travel, much like retail giant Walmart and Silicon Valley power players Google and Apple. The e-commerce outfit’s ban on these products also comes at a time when concerns over the practice of hoarding crucial medical supplies, including the N95 mask, is reaching a fever pitch.

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