Infant formula prices rise on Craigslist amid US shortage as Better Business Bureau warns of potential scams.
The infant formula shortage began late last year due to supply chain disruptions caused by COVID-19, but has only worsened in recent weeks after Abbott Nutrition recalled several major brands and closed its plant in Sturgis, Michigan.
The shortage has forced stores and retailers to limit the number of products customers buy, and many people are trying to sell formulas in online classifieds for more than stores are selling.
On Craigslist, several advertisements show boxes of formula being sold at higher prices. A vendor located in Fairfax, Virginia, listed a 12.5 ounce box of Enfamil infant formula for $60. At Walgreens in the same location, a 20-ounce can of the same product is selling for $36.99, but it’s currently out of stock.
In Arizona, a seller on Craigslist listed four unopened boxes of Similac formula for $85, and at an area Safeway grocer, four boxes of Similac cost about $75.96.
Some prices, however, are much higher. A vendor whose location indicates Woodbridge, a census-designated place in Virginia, listed a photo of at least nine different cans of Enfamil and Similac, listing the package for $250. The Craigslist ad read, “Since times are tough. I’m willing to negotiate with the price.”
Some advertisements are also suspected to be scams. On Craiglist, two separate listings, one in Houston, Texas, and one in Charleston, South Carolina, had the same photo and sale details, and advertised, “I can ship it to any address in the state !”
But the Better Business Bureau (BBB)) warned of potential scams from online sellers, saying: “Online shopping scams are the riskiest. With current supply issues on many items, including infant formula, scammers are watching .”
The BBB clarified that the scams take place online. “An ad, post, or social media group advertises available baby formula. Buyer contacts seller via chat or direct message, showing pictures of available cans. Buyer makes payment through a platform. peer-to-peer form, such as like PayPal or Venmo, but the formula never happens,” the website said.
Some signs of potential scams include positive website reviews being copied and pasted, grammatical or spelling errors in ads, or sellers communicating until payment is cleared and then becoming difficult to join. The BBB also warns that where there is no indication of a physical address, or if the address shows a parking lot or unrelated business on a map, these could also be indications of a scam.
“BBB strongly recommends that parents research a formula online, in newsgroups or other sources they wouldn’t normally use, research it before providing any personal information,” said Sandra Guile, gatekeeper. -word of BBB. Newsweek.
The shortage has put many people in the United States in a desperate position. A video of two people arguing in a grocery store over how much product they are buying has gone viral, and one of the two customers in the video could be heard saying, “You come and buy all the same time. There are kids who need formula today who won’t be able to get it because you just bought it to fill up. That’s not your problem, is it? »
The White House said Wednesday that President Joe Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to address the current national shortage of baby formula.
Newsweek contacted the Better Business Bureau for additional comment.
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