Ebay (EBAY) has told sellers to stop using the coronavirus outbreak to “profit from tragedies and disasters”.
In an email sent to users, the online marketplace has banned titles and item descriptions misusing terms such as “Coronavirus”, “Covid-19”, ‘Virus”, and “epidemic”.
It is also prohibiting item descriptions containing health claims in relation to the deadly disease and the inflation of prices “above prevailing market value” in order to attempt to profit from the outbreak.
The message particularly targets sellers who have live listings for items such as face masks and hand sanitiser gel or wipes and asks them to review their listings and make sure that they respect the company’s listing policies.
Part of the message reads: “Considering the global developments associated with Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and our dedication to delivering a safe and trusted marketplace, we would like to remind you of eBay’s Listing Policies:
Health claims and misuse of keywords: titles and item descriptions containing health claims and misusing terms such as "Coronavirus", "Covid-19", ‘Virus”, "epidemic" are prohibited.
Prices inflated above prevailing market value: listings that attempt to profit from tragedies and disasters (such as the Coronavirus outbreak) are prohibited.
Laws and Regulations: we recognise this is a fast changing situation. We advise sellers to always check local laws and regulations when listing. We will continue to monitor the situation globally and provide further updates as necessary.
eBay requests that all sellers who have live listings offering items such as face masks, hand sanitiser gel or wipes, etc., review their listings and make sure that they comply with eBay Listing policies.”
Ebay warns that any activity that does not follow these rules could result in a range of actions, such as the offending listings being ended or cancelled, hiding or demoting all listings from search results, lowering the seller’s rating, enforcing buying or selling restrictions, or the suspension of the seller’s account.
The email also advises sellers to always check local laws and regulations when listing items for sale. The company states that they “recognise this is a fast changing situation” and “will continue to monitor the situation globally and provide further updates as necessary”.
The move comes as coronavirus fears deepen in the UK, leading supermarket sales of hand sanitiser to soar 255% year-on-year, according to new figures from market research firm Kantar.
The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the UK has risen to 51, the health secretary Matt Hancock has said.