How To Spot and Report eBay Price Gouging

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Understanding eBay Price Gouging And What To Do About It

Finding out you've overpaid for an item is never a good feeling. It often feels like you've been lied to and cheated, and in a way you have been. So, being angry at the seller for overpricing their products to make a few extra dollars is only reasonable. Fortunately , it can be a little easier to spot scams when it comes to online platforms.

Online markets are notorious for getting away with overpricing items, but many digital marketplaces are stepping up to put a stop to it. One example is eBay price gouging. The company is doing everything it can to avoid dishonest sellers and make it easier to report price gouging. Unfortunately, there's still a long way to go before the reporting process is seamless. Luckily, services such as DoNotPay make reporting much easier.

What Qualifies as Price Gouging on eBay?

eBay is fairly strict when it comes to price gouging. Their policy states items priced higher than reasonably fair are not allowed on the platform. Sadly, many items slip through the company 's standards and accounts only receive a warning when their price gouging is reported by potential buyers like you.

eBay's policy on price gouging includes the following:

  • Items considered to be essential must be priced fairly, otherwise they will be hidden or removed.
  • Pricing of goods may not reflect inflation following an emergency or natural disaster.
  • eBay reserves the right to hide, limit, or restrict the sale of items that are commonly sold at inflated prices. This includes only allowing authorized sellers to list specific items.
  • Sellers must follow all applicable laws and regulations regarding the sale of items.

How Can You Spot Price Gouging online?

The best rule of thumb when it comes to overpriced items is to do a search for a specific item and compare the pricing. You 'll often be able to notice quickly if a seller on eBay is trying to steep the pricing and get away with a quick sale for one unlucky customer.

For example, if you're trying to buy a set of kitchen knives and you know the product in-store runs around $40 but is listed on eBay for $75 or more, you could fall victim to a price gouging plot. Many times, highly sought after products like brand name clothes or hot list toys during the holiday season are found to be overpriced. However, if you're not sure how much anything should normally cost, consider the following:

Ask yourself whether the price is reasonableExamine the pricing to see if it is acceptable. Take a look at the pricing charged by other stores if it appears outrageously excessive.
Visit other stores and compare pricesIt's a good idea to check what other well-known merchants charge to get a better understanding of what a fair pricing is for a certain product.
Be familiar with pressure selling tacticsBe wary of high-pressure sales methods. Some vendors will try to persuade you to buy something by sending you messages like:
  • 'Quick sale'
  • 'Right now, 42 people are looking at this product.'
  • 'Extremely popular'

Another great example of price gouging would be essential items such as toilet paper, baby formula, or hand sanitizer. In early March of 2020, eBay restricted those items, along with several other essential products, due to heavy price gouging. They're now only allowed to be sold by business sellers at a fixed rate.

What Should I Do if I Notice eBay Price Gouging?

The online market relies on a rule-based filtering system to help monitor for price gouging, as well as to check for prohibited or restricted items. However, every now and then, sellers can fly by under the radar and convince an unlucky customer to purchase the item for well more than they should. If you believe an item is overpriced and a seller might be price gouging, eBay now has a reporting tool to assist in protecting buyers. Even with this new tool, it can leave you waiting to see any action take place for quite a while, which may be disheartening.

When reporting price gouging on eBay, you'll need to

  1. Select 'report item' option next to the description and shipping options found on the listing
  2. Choose the ' price gouging ' option from the reportable categories
  3. Select ' price gouging ' once more in the reason for report field
  4. Click send or submit

What Products and Services Does eBay Protect From Price Gouging

eBay is still working on dealing with price gouging instances and expanding on the restrictions and bans on products that sellers commonly try to overprice. Currently, items that are protected from price gouging on the website include :

  • Toilet paper
  • Tampons
  • Baby Formula
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Disinfecting Wipes
  • Healthcare Masks
  • Diapers

How to Protect Yourself Against Price Gouging Using DoNotPay:

If you want to protect against price gouging but don't know where to start, DoNotPay has you covered in 5 easy steps:

  1. Open the Price Gouging Protection product on DoNotPay.
  2. Generate a fake credit card to use with the merchant.
  3. Complete the transaction with the fake credit card.
  4. Save a photo of the transaction as evidence and start the demand letter process.
  5. Answer a few questions through our chatbot about the merchant and transaction.

Other Related DoNotPay Services

DoNotPay doesn't only help handle price gouging issues with eBay purchases, but they help with a variety of things. Services they offer include but are not limited to:

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