Campaigners were at Luton Hoo Estate historic Manor House yesterday (4 August 2021) to protest about Amazon’s “treatment of workers” and to claim the company allowed “price gouging” at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unite said it has submitted the “first formal complaint” to the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) against Amazon (which has sites in Wootton and Ridgmont) for abuse of its market position in relation to price gouging at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It claimed vulnerable and older people who had to stay at home and those who relied on home deliveries would have been particularly exposed to inflated prices for essential items on the Amazon website.
The union has published two examples; it said antibacterial hand lotion which usually costs around £1 increased to £26.41 in March 2020.
Also, the price for a digital thermometer increased by over £100 – going from £39.99 to £149.99.
Unite is calling for Amazon to repay the overcharges. Sharon Graham, Unite executive officer for organising and leverage, said:
“Amazon is steeped in corporate irresponsibility, from its anti-union tactics to tax avoidance. Now Amazon stands accused of profiting from price gouging on its website at the height of the pandemic when vulnerable people were most at need. It’s time for Amazon to be held to account.”
A spokesperson for Amazon said:
“There is no place for price gouging on Amazon. We worked with the CMA more than a year ago to stop attempts by some sellers to take advantage of the global health crisis.
“Our action at the time was clear and decisive – we removed the offers referenced in this complaint and terminated seller accounts. We continue to monitor our store 24/7 to remove offers that violate our policies.”