kijiji canada

Kijiji has banned reselling items like toilet paper and hand sanitizer

As people are scrambling to secure staple provisions they believe will be useful during a potential large-scale novel coronavirus outbreak — and causing chaos in stores in the process — a select few have decided that the vulnerability and fear that comes with a global pandemic is a good thing to capitalize on.

Resale website Kijiji was seeing so many Canadian listings for toilet paper, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and medical face masks at drastically increased prices that it had to temporarily ban ads for such items across the country.

The company said in a statement that such listings "run counter to the community-minded spirit of Kijiji" and that it plans to "quickly remove any listing that mentions COVID-19, coronavirus or 2019nCoV (except books) in the title or description."

It also encouraged users to report any ads that are price-gouging or otherwise suspicious.

The move was apparently made in response to a glut of feedback about unrealistic pricing by sellers trying to take advantage of the situation — something many on social media have been up in arms about.

Residents were noticing that listings for products like N95 masks that local retailers had completely sold out of were now popping up in droves for much more money on resale sites and apps.

Some cited toilet paper listed for $100 per roll. Meanwhile, brick-and-mortar stores and sites like Amazon are completely sold out of it.

One couple in Vancouver even bragged about the fact that they made six figures from reselling Lysol wipes that they had hoarded from Costco stores for a profit, calling the current situation "a big opportunity."

Though Facebook has stepped up to ban ads for medical face masks and prohibit the commercial sale of the item through its marketplace, sanitizer and other such products are still being bought and sold.

Meanwhile, other apps and websites like Craigslist have yet to take any action to crack down on people profiting in the midst of the panic.

Lead photo by

Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash

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