Carousell & Qoo10 Urge Face Mask Sellers To Trade At “Reasonable Prices”

We’ve seen scalpers hoard concert tickets and sell them at inflated prices but should it be the same for medical supplies too?

On Thursday (29 Jan), TODAY Online reported that Carousell and Qoo10 plan to suspend sellers offering face masks at unreasonable prices. The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak caused prices to soar to about 5 to 20 times more than the retail price.

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Everyone deserves an affordable surgical mask so here’s how companies are handling the situation.

Face masks sold at unreasonable prices

In the past week, people endured long queues to buy surgical masks at an NTUC Unity Pharmacy. While the online world doesn’t have queues, the prices have surged.

Surgical masks in Watsons were sold at $12 for 50 pieces and Redmart for $11.90 for 50 pieces. The retail price for one mask was at $0.24 per piece but they are currently out of stock.

Meanwhile, Carousell’s listings reveal that a box with 50 pieces of surgical masks was worth $75. This is equivalent to $1.5 per piece which is more than 5 times the market price.

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Some merchants give customers the option to buy a bulk of 100 masks for a price of $170, which is equivalent to $1.70 per mask.

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The situation was the same in Qoo10 where a pack of surgical masks was sold at $79.90 for 50 pieces.

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Carousell & Qoo10 to step in

Ms Tan Su Lin, vice-president of operations at Carousell, announced that the company reached out to sellers and advised them to sell masks at reasonable prices.

Ms Lin told TODAY Online,

Listings with unreasonable pricing will be asked to observe corrective action or may be taken down.

Similarly, Mr Sam Too, who is general manager of Qoo10, declared that their company would not tolerate merchants raising prices to unreasonable levels. They believe sellers attempting to profit from the outbreak are treating the situation as a joke.

He said,

Merchants found guilty of such behaviour may be temporarily suspended.

He claims to have seen boxes surge to approximately 30-65% their average price so they’re making an effort to push prices down.

Merchants reap benefits

An online seller interviewed by TODAY Online believes that prices have surged because masks are out of stock.

She told TODAY Online,

People are just taking the opportunity to reap the benefits of [the situation].

In the past 2 days, she got in touch with 40 buyers purchasing an average of 2 boxes. A company manager even bought as much as 20 boxes to ensure that every employee had one.

While she claims that she will lower the price for those that can’t afford it, no one has attempted to negotiate with her.

More face masks to be shipped in

Online marketplaces like Carousell and Qoo10 usually don’t regulate the prices of the products sold on their website. However, they’re stepping in to ensure that surgical masks will be affordable.

Qoo10 will have a shipment of 70,000 masks in Singapore next week so there’s no need to worry about supplies running out.

How much did it cost you to buy a pack of surgical masks? Let us know in the comments below.

Also read:

Lot One Shoppers Queue For Surgical Masks Because Of Wuhan Virus, Could Only Buy 10 Each

PM Lee Assures S’pore Is Well Prepared For Wuhan Virus, Don’t Need Wear Mask If You’re Not Ill

Featured image from Carousell and Qoo10.