18 Mar 2020

Coronavirus: Trade Me cracks down on profiteering on emergency items

12:34 pm on 18 March 2020

Trade Me has launched a natural disaster and civil emergency policy which aims to cap the price on items related to a disaster or emergency such as Covid-19.

Hand sanitiser generic.

Photo: 123RF

The online sales company said it has noticed a spike in prices for face masks and hand sanitiser in particular.

Spokesman George Hiotakis said the new policy is aimed at limiting profiteering on items needed by New Zealanders during events such as the current Covid-19 pandemic.

"We are introducing these new measures to protect our users from exploitative pricing during the Covid-19 outbreak and future unforeseen events."

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He said from today, the company will be looking at the price of items already listed on its site, including face masks and hand sanitiser which have been listed for much more than their normal retail price.

Hiotakis said over-priced items will be removed, and sellers will be asked to re-list at prices consistent with their standard price.

"We have not got involved in the prices of items on Trade Me before but given the special circumstances New Zealand finds itself in with the Covid-19 pandemic, we felt we needed to make a change."

Hiotakis said the new policy will be tricky for us to execute.

"We have over eight million items onsite at any one time, so finding all examples of this behaviour is going to be hard but we'll be working through it.

"We think this option is better than banning these items altogether."

Trade Me is asking for the public's help to identify over-pricing.

"If you do come across anything on Trade Me that doesn't look right, please use the Community Watch button at the bottom of every listing and one of our team will take a look."

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