OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma’s attorney general says his office is working with Amazon to combat fraud and price gouging related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The partnership between Attorney General Mike Hunter and Amazon will involve representatives from Hunter’s consumer protection unit and Amazon, and will frequently communicate about complaints on the price of goods and other fraudulent sales practices on the company’s website.
It also will foster better, more immediate investigations to shut scams down as quickly as possible.
Hunter says the collaboration is an effort to make sure Oklahomans are not defrauded or scammed.
“With Oklahomans trying to leave their homes as little as possible during the coronavirus pandemic, websites like Amazon are even more important for acquiring household items,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Couple that with our state’s current high rate of unemployment and continued layoffs, every dollar counts for families who are struggling. For criminals to exploit this situation is disgraceful, and we must do everything we can to ensure Oklahomans aren’t getting ripped off or defrauded. That is why we are especially grateful for our newly formed partnership with Amazon to enhance our fraud prevention efforts and help us more closely monitor for price gouging on its website. This public-private partnership ensure Oklahomans are protected and those perpetuating fraud are stopped.”
Amazon is combatting price gouging and fraud by:
- Making clear to all sellers about the longstanding company policies to ensure fair pricing;
- Monitoring stores 24/7 though both automated and manual means
- Aggressively removing bad offers;
- Collaborating with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and policymakers to hold price gougers accountable
- Staying focused on customers and protecting their interests
“There is no place for price gouging on Amazon, and we do not tolerate these unconscionable acts,” said Brian Huseman, Amazon Vice President of Public Policy. “Amazon proactively monitors around the clock and removes offers that violate our policies. We value our partnership with Attorney General Hunter and the state of Oklahoma to prosecute bad actors who try to take advantage of customers.”
Amazon has removed over half a million offers from its stores due to coronavirus-based price gouging.
Hunter’s office has received over 420 complaints related to price gouging or fraud. No legal action has been taken up to this point, but the partnership, Hunter says, will help give his office the information needed to investigate and hold those propagating fraud accountable.