Amid Preparations For Hurricane Irma, Amazon Draws Scrutiny For Price Increases – Forbes

NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 14: Jeff Bezos, chief executive officer of Amazon (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Online giant Amazon is no stranger to public scrutiny, but the e-commerce retailer is facing a new round of accusations as Florida residents prepare for the potential devastation of Hurricane Irma. The company reportedly has allowed prices on basic emergency supplies to surge out of control as the Category 5 storm draws closer to the Sunshine State.

In particular, the cost of water has drawn the most ire. As Kate Taylor of Business Insider reports, customers took to Twitter to share screenshots of water from various brands — for example, Aquafina and Nestlé — priced roughly between $20 and $25 per case. Typically, the same cases of water sell for between $4 and $8, meaning that the screenshots demonstrate an increase in the neighborhood of 500 to 625%. That’s before “extras” such as expedited shipping.

One of the most extreme cases of expedited shipping costs was tweeted by Diana Moskovitz, senior editor at Deadspin, who shared that it would cost her a massive $179.25 to ship a case of Nestlé water (to her family, no less).

Naturally, curiosity got the best to see any of Nestlé’s price fluctuations, so I scouted some historical data from the coupon site, Honey. Turns out, on Sept. 3, that same 24-pack on Amazon was $8.08, and over the last three days, there have been three price increases, resulting in a price of $28.75. No words.

Moskovitz shortly found out that Nestlé wasn’t Prime eligible, but when considering Fiji, she noted prices still appeared higher. 

In the case of Fiji (pun unintended), historical pricing was referenced from price tracking platform, CamelCamelCamel, whose data validated that the case increased from $19.99 to $23.99 on Aug. 24 — yes, a day before Hurricane Harvey made landfall.


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