The Jakarta Post
E-commerce Tokopedia has blocked thousands of merchants for listing healthcare products and other staple goods essential during the current coronavirus pandemic at skyrocketing prices.
Face masks and hand sanitizer, two of the most sought after products as people try to protect themselves against COVID-19, were being sold for as much as five times the normal price by these merchants.
These two products have disappeared from shops ever since the news of the outbreak of the respiratory illness broke in January. The price of the protective N95 masks was a whopping Rp 1.3 million (US$78.21) for a box containing 20 masks, more than six times the usual price of Rp 200,000 per box.
Tokopedia, an Indonesian unicorn running a successful e-marketplace, has also banned merchants from selling COVID-19-related products using unproven claims.
“Responding to the unusual price of health products and other basic necessities related to COVID-19, Tokopedia has permanently closed thousands of online stores and banned the display of tens of thousands of products that are proven to violate [our rules],” vice president of corporate communications Nuraini Razak said in a statement on Monday.
Tokopedia has also eliminated service fees and reduced shipping costs for healthcare products and staple goods to help distribute these essential products faster.
“Online shopping can be an alternative to reduce the risk of spreading viruses in crowded places while encouraging local businesses to continue operating online,” Nuraini said. (mfp)