Amazon is worried about its customers getting ripped off — well, that and being held legally responsible for it.
The ecommerce giant published a plea Wednesday for lawmakers to finally do something about the very real problem of price gouging during a disaster. Specifically, Amazon’s vice president of public policy, Brian Huseman, asked for federal legislation that we’re sure only coincidentally puts the crosshairs on sellers — not on Amazon itself.
Amazon, you see, is trying to do right by its customers. It’s the lack of a comprehensive and federal anti-price-gouging law, argues Huseman, that has set customers up to be ripped off by unscrupulous baddies using Amazon’s platform.
“As people across the country focus on protecting the health and safety of their families and communities — and stretching every precious dollar — one thing they shouldn’t have to worry about is being taken advantage of by bad actors seeking to profit off the COVID-19 crisis,” reads the blog post.
Thankfully for any lawmaker wondering just what, exactly, she can do about this pressing matter, Amazon has a few suggestions.
“Legislation should also help law enforcement target the source of the problem,” writes Huseman. “Specifically, pricing prohibitions should apply to the party who actually sets the price of a product.”
In other words, a site like Amazon — which provides a marketplace for scores of third-party resellers — shouldn’t be held responsible if third parties engage in price gouging via its marketplace.
But wait, you may rightly be wondering about all the products that Amazon does make: say, for example, various AmazonBasics items. Don’t worry, Huseman thought of that, too.
“Furthermore, any prohibitions should apply to all levels of the supply chain so that retailers and resellers are not forced to bear price gouging increases by manufacturers and suppliers,” he writes.
Got that? If a third party price gouges on Amazon, that’s not Amazon’s fault. If Amazon has to suddenly charge an arm and a leg for its own products? Well then, surely that’s a reasonable cost that reflects those nasty manufacturers and suppliers jacking up prices and playing hardball with little ol’ Amazon.
“Amazon stands ready to work with Congressional leaders on effective and timely legislation to combat price gouging and protect consumers,” writes Huseman.
We can’t wait.