SEATTLE —A class-action lawsuit accusing Amazon of price-gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic has now been expanded to include a proposed class of all Amazon shoppers nationwide who purchased affected products, according to law firm Hagens Berman.
The expanded lawsuit, filed July 2 accuses the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon.com, of engaging in “unconscionable” and unlawful price increases during the COVID-19 pandemic, inflating prices for essential goods by upwards of 1,800 percent.
If you purchased any consumer food items or goods, emergency supplies or medical products from Amazon during the COVID-19 crisis, find out more about the lawsuit and your rights.
The lawsuit against Amazon seeks repayment to consumers for Amazon’s price-gouging, and treble damages, as well as injunctive relief from the court barring Amazon’s overpricing, which attorneys say is illegal under state consumer-protection laws.
“Attempting to profit from a deadly pandemic is far from a victimless act,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Seattle-based Hagens Berman. “When Amazon chose to hike up prices of emergency supplies and other goods while the world was reeling from COVID-19, it unlawfully price-gouged vulnerable consumers who were relying on Amazon to obtain goods safely.
“We intend to hold Amazon accountable for the choice it made.”
Price Fixed: Face Masks, Medicine, Toilet Paper, Food Staples & More
As the COVID-19 crisis escalated, so too have Amazon’s prices for goods consumers require to remain healthy, protected and nourished, attorneys say.
According to the lawsuit, “Amazon’s sales have never been higher, and since the COVID-19 pandemic began, its sales in some categories (e.g., home items) are up more than 1000 percent.” Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos’s personal wealth increased by $75 billion (or approximately $205 million per day) in 2020, during which hundreds of thousands of Americans lost their source of income and their lives to COVID-19.
After federal officials declared a public health emergency, certain Amazon prices increased as follows according to Hagens Berman’s filing:
- Face Masks: Increases up to 1,800 percent, from $4.21 to $79.99;
- Cold Remedies: Increases up to 1,523 percent, from $4.65 to $79.00;
- Toilet Paper: Increases up to 1,044 percent, from $17.48 to $200;
- Black Beans: Increases up to 521 percent, from $3.54 to $21.99;
- Flour: Increases up to 400 percent, from $22.00 to $110.00;
- Disinfectant Wipes: Increases of more than 745 percent, from $20.71 to $174.96.
All of these (and many more) Amazon price increases are flagrantly unlawful under Washington law, attorneys say.