Anytime there's a crisis you can guarantee there's someone trying to make a buck off of it. As COVID-19-induced panic guts Vancouver stores of their cleaning-related goods, one Vancouver couple claimed to have made over $100,000 reselling Lysol wipes on Amazon. The company's now cracking down on resellers, and the couple's account was among the first to go.
Manny Ranga and Violeta Perez were first spotted outside a Vancouver Costco, loading up their truck with stacks of Lysol wipes on Thursday, March 12.
When asked what they were doing, the couple explained that since the supplies were in such high demand, they could stock up on the wipes and sell at jacked up prices on Amazon.
"Everything we do, we’re in the moment,” said Perez to the Toronto Star. “We’re hustlers.”
A six-pack of wipes cost about $20 at Costco. The couple were selling it online at $89 a pop. And after spending $70,000 on Lysol wipes alone, they claim to have made over $100,000.
“It’s a big opportunity with all these products," said Ranga to the Star.
And then it came to a halt. Soon after the Star's Douglas Quan published his piece, the couple's Amazon account got suspended.
The company told CTV News they're scanning the site and will "remove offers that violate [their] policies."
Yesterday I went to a Costco store, where I stumbled across this couple loading their pickup with piles of Lysol wi… https://t.co/rIuC4tk0vm— Douglas Quan (@Douglas Quan)1584058216.0
After their Amazon ban, CTV managed to reach the couple for comment. As they spoke, Ranga unpacked another five boxes of Lysol wipes from his car.
He and his wife had money problems, he explained.
"My kids go to private school. I pay $20,000 a year on private school and they’re not returning it."
After their three kids' school got cancelled over COVID-19, the couple was forced to stay home and take care of them. They're too busy to work at their real estate development business, CTV reported.
"The government’s not helping us pay our bills," Ranga told the network.
New - Manny Ranga was selling six-pack of wipes (regulat price $20) re-selling it online for $89 for a $69 profit… https://t.co/yocGCykdA4— G.T. Lem (@G.T. Lem)1584242682.0
Meanwhile, Amazon and Kijiji are pushing back against resellers on their platforms.
In a statement to CTV, Amazon said they're "disappointed that bad actors are attempting to artificially raise prices on basic need products during a global health crisis."
Do people in Metro Vancouver waiting hours to buy toilet paper know that it’s made in New Westminster and there is… https://t.co/bgpkVmSCsL— Lizanne Foster (@Lizanne Foster)1584130175.0
By buying up important health supplies, resellers could deprive professionals of needed materials like surgical masks and disinfectant.
Despite all the panic, the risk of contracting COVID-19 in B.C. is still low, according to the BCCDC. There are currently 73 cases in the province.
Narcity has reached out to Amazon and Violeta Perez for comment.