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COVID-19: Kijiji bans listings for toilet paper, hand sanitizer, face masks and other items
MONTREAL -- The online classified advertising site Kijiji Canada will not profit off the customer craze to buy toilet paper, hand sanitizer, surgical masks and other items that have been stripped from store shelves across North America.
"We have been monitoring the community response to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Canada. Based on user feedback, and to curb pricing practices that run counter to the community-minded spirit of Kijiji, we will temporarily ban listings for health care masks including N95/N100 and surgical masks, hand sanitizer/gel, disinfecting wipes and toilet paper," a message reads on the site.
"We will continue to monitor the evolving situation and quickly remove any listing that mentions COVID-19, coronavirus, or 2019nCoV (except books) in the title or description."
Other sites such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace do not, as of writing, have similar policies in place.
Some users have listed toilet paper for as little as $1, while others list small bottles of hand sanitizer for as much as $500.
Amazon Canada said it would follow the lead of its American parent company in cracking down on resellers.
"There is no place for price gouging on Amazon," said a company spokesperson in an email. "We are disappointed that bad actors are attemping to artificially raise prices on basic need products during a global health crisis and, in line with our long-standing policy, have recently blocked or removed hundreds of thousands of offers. We continue to actively monitor our store and remove offers that violate our policies."
Quebec Premier Francois Legault, who announced a public health emergency on Saturday, said the government is not expecting shortages.
"Right now, th eonly shortages we see is because of the people that add too much stock," he said.
Legault urged Quebecers to limit their purchases to what they need, saying stores will be restocked as usual next week.
PRICES UP AT RETAIL STORES
Some Montrealers who tried to stock up on items like hand sanitizer on Saturday found prices had gone up in brick-and-mortar stores as well.
At the Rona in Little Burgundy prices of Lysol 35 sanitary wipes were going for the double the price online. In a statement, Lowe's Canada said the increase is because supplies have ran out, forcing stores to buy from local suppliers with higher prices.
"[The store] sourced its supplies elsewhere so that it could continue to offer its customers the products they needed, even if that meant offering them at a higher price," said Lowe's in the statement.