Amazon Customers Petition for Company Prevent Price Gouging Amid National Emergencies Like the Coronavirus Pandemic

A new petition on Change.org is taking aim at Amazon. While the online retailer has dramatically altered its practices in recent days out of concern for the spread of coronavirus, this petition is urging Amazon to stop the practice of price gouging for in-demand items throughout their online store.

The petition, which is now at more than 200,000 signers as of Wednesday evening, also provided a handful of recent examples found on its site. These include a four-pack of Purell hand sanitizer for $159 and two containers of Lysol wipes priced at $70. Given the current effort by many to engage in self-quarantine and/or social distancing, online retail has become increasingly important. "That's not 'good business,' that's taking advantage of consumers during an emergency," read the petition's page, in part.

While it also acknowledged that Amazon "has retroactively deleted some products for price gouging," it stressed that "these spikes should never have happened in the first place."

"By implementing a system that prevents anyone -- Amazon, computer algorithm or seller -- from raising prices for products significantly above their 90-day averages during emergencies, Amazon would help to protect consumers who may be relying on its marketplace for supplies," it continues.

This isn't the first petition leveled against Amazon and its business practices. On Tuesday, another Change.org petition was calling for Whole Foods, which is owned by Amazon, to provide more paid time off during the pandemic. That petition stated that it was "incomprehensible that better conditions are not granted to Whole Foods' employees."

"We implore Jeff Bezos to provide his employees or 'associates' with better working conditions and paid medical leave during this national health crisis and beyond," organizers write.

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As more cases of coronavirus continue to be reported, Amazon has already suspended all shipments of non-essential items to its warehouses, as well as paused all sales of CDs and vinyl for the time being. In a memo sent out to sellers on Tuesday, it explained the practice will be in place until April 5 at least.

"We are seeing increased online shopping, and as a result, some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock," read the memo. "With this in mind, we are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock, and deliver these products to customers."