Trade Me users capitalising on coronavirus scare, selling hand sanitiser at huge markup

As the fear of coronavirus gains strength, some people are out to make a profit.

Trade Me hand sanitiser listing. Source: Trade Me

By Connor Stirling

Bottles of hand sanitiser are being listed on Trade Me for more than twice their retail price.

Demand has increased since the outbreak started, leading to some supermarkets rationing sales to customers.

NZ pharmacy chain runs out of face masks amid coronavirus fears

A Countdown spokesperson confirmed a two-bottle limit is in place, while face masks sold out in some pharmacies last month.

Multiple auctions for four small hand sanitisers will set you back $40 while large 500ml bottles are being sold for up to $38.

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The spike in cases comes as Chinese officials change the way infections are counted. Source: 1 NEWS

Respirator masks, usually used by builders, also appear at over $100.

Trade Me’s head of marketplace Lisa Stewart says she is aware of the listings.

“We understand that this behaviour isn't everyone's cup of tea but we never 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,” she says.

To prevent the spread of coronavirus, the Ministry of Health advises frequent hand washing and covering sneezes or coughs.