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Amazon blocks thousands of resellers during COVID-19 crisis, including Vancouver couple
VANCOUVER -- Amazon says it has blocked the account of a Vancouver couple who claimed to have resold $100,000 of cleaning supplies amidst the COVID-19 crisis, as well as hundreds of thousands of others who were reselling items.
Manny Ranga and Violeta Perez were seen at a Vancouver Costco on Thursday, filling their truck with boxes of Lysol wipes.
CTV News Vancouver caught up with the couple on Friday outside their house and spoke to Ranga as the couple was about to unload five boxes of Lysol wipes from the trunk of their SUV.
Ranga said he and his wife have three kids who can’t go to their private school because of the novel coronavirus outbreak, so they can’t work and need a way to make an income.
“The government’s not helping us pay our bills,” he said. “Kids can’t go to school, my kids go to private school. I pay $20,000 a year on private school and they’re not returning it.”
He also said he and his wife's real estate development business has been slow because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Premier John Horgan had harsh words for resellers like Ranga and Perez at a Friday press conference.
“I’m profoundly disappointed in people who are hoarding and then selling online," he said. "I think that’s just offensive and most people would bristle on that.”
In a statement to CTV News Vancouver, Amazon confirmed it had blocked the couple's account and said it was "disappointed that bad actors are attempting to artificially raise prices on basic need products during a global health crisis."
The company said it had blocked or removed hundreds of thousands of accounts for similar activity, and is continuing to monitor its website and "remove offers that violate our policies."
The online classifieds site Kijiji will ban listings for a number of health items altogether. That list includes "health care masks including N95/N100 and surgical masks, hand sanitizer/gel, disinfecting wipes and toilet paper," according to its website.
On March 13, Facebook said it would prohibit listings for medical face masks.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Allison Hurst.