Trade Me says coronavirus price gouging not 'everyone's cup of tea' - but it won't stop it

Trade Me says it will not step in to regulate pricing or remove listings taking part in price gouging amid coronavirus-fuelled panic.

A listing for a single face mask on Trade Me with a price of $100 - aimed at those panic buying amid the coronavirus outbreak. Source: Screenshot/1 News

Face masks and hand sanitiser are among items that some Kiwis appear to have bought in bulk to be on-sold for a higher price.

New Zealand Twitter users yesterday pleaded with Trade Me to stop the practice, with some saying it is adding to panic.

One listing on the site today offered a single face mask with a price of $100.

A listing for five 500ml bottles of hand sanitiser on Trade Me with a price of $150 - $30 per bottle, where outlets like OfficeMax have previously sold 500mls of sanitiser for $15.49. Source: Screengrab/1 News

Lisa Stewart, Trade Me's head of marketplace, today said they will not interfere in price gouging behaviours.

"We know that some sellers are attempting to make money from this event and are charging high prices for items like sanitiser and face masks while stores across the country run low or sell out

"We understand that this behaviour isn't everyone's cup of tea but we don't regulate the prices of items on our site

"At the end of the day, these are trades between a willing buyer and a willing seller and the prices are simply market forces at work."

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Crowds of people are flocking to the shops after the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed in the city. Source: Supplied

Internationally, both eBay and Amazon have released statements threatening to remove listings that are price gouging based on coronavirus panic.

In a statement, eBay last week specifically prohibited inflating prices above market value due to coronavirus.

"Listings that attempt to profit from tragedies and disasters (such as the Coronavirus outbreak) are prohibited," the statement said.

Amazon has reportedly taken down tens of thousands of listings already, which it said were trying to price gouge over coronavirus.

A spokesperson told Reuters "there is no place for price gouging on Amazon" and reiterated that it would take down listings that hurt customer trust.

Trade Me collects fees totalling 7.9 per cent from the sale price of each item.