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Price gouging alert: Amazon third-party sellers hocking hand sanitizer for a hefty price

Some products are going for well over $100.

Health officials worldwide have advised people to take hygienic precautions to avoid catching coronavirus as it spreads worldwide, including two new cases in Florida this week.

Those precautions include frequent hand washing and using hand sanitizers when touching things like doorknobs or other hard surfaces others might have also used.

But that precaution has led to a massive run on hand sanitizers.

The New York Times reported on retail shortages as customers flock to stores to stock up.

A quick scroll through Amazon found a host of sold out products.

A six pack of Sanell instant hand sanitizer travel sized bottles was currently unavailable. A two pack of a larger size Purell hand sanitizer was also unavailable.

In cases where products were available, the prices were jacked up significantly higher than their pre-coronavirus prices.

A six pack of 2oz. Purell was listed Monday morning through a third party seller for $44.

Another single 8oz. bottle was going for $12.15 with just 15 left in stock. The typical price for that product is just a few bucks.

A two pack of 20oz. bottles was listed for $49.99.

Retail stores throughout the state are quickly running out of hand sanitizer, which could lead some Floridians turning to the online marketplace to get products.

The Florida Attorney General’s office has a price gouging hotline it activates during state emergencies, typically ahead of and during hurricanes. That hotline does not appear to be activated for coronavirus products.

Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office said they are reaching out to retailers to help ensure Floridians can afford health-related products.

“We continue to review all complaints related to the Coronavirus and will pursue any we find actionable.  With respect to products, manufacturers and sellers should be forewarned that our office will aggressively pursue any misleading marketing regarding health claims or scams during this public health emergency,” an agency spokesperson wrote in a comment.

Amazon sellers on with hand sanitizer in stock are third-party sellers.

“There is no place for price gouging on Amazon. We are disappointed that bad actors are attempting to artificially raise prices on basic need products during a global health crisis and, in line with our long-standing policy, have recently blocked or removed tens of thousands of offers. We continue to actively monitor our store and remove offers that violate our policies,” a spokesperson wrote in a statement.

The company has employees monitoring the site 24/7 to ensure vendors are abiding by Amazon’s fair market standards that prohibit price gouging.

The most expensive hand sanitizer on offer from an Amazon third-party seller was a two-pack of 12 oz. bottles of Purell for $149.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at Janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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