GREEDY eBay sellers are cashing in on supermarkets' dwindling baby milk stock - by selling it for 19 times its price.
Baby formula including Cow and Gate, Aptamil and SMA are being sold for hugely inflated prices across the site as stocks run low, leaving mums wondering what they will do.
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One seller, based in West Yorkshire, was selling Cow and Gate first infant milk on auction for £155 with 18 bids and four days to go.
The item, which normally sells in shops for £7.99, was first listed on March 16.
The seller said: “Cow and Gate First Infant Milk 800g. Brand new and opened. I bought the wrong milk from the supermarket, I lost my receipt so I couldn’t return it.”
After Fabulous contacted the seller on Tuesday, asking why they were doing this, the item was withdrawn from sale although we didn’t receive a response to our question.
However, they are far from the only seller taking advantage of dwindling stocks.
Even special premature baby milk, recommended by the NHS, is being sold for vastly inflated prices.
Normally on sale for £2.99, the Cow and Gate branded milk - to fill up early babies - is on sale for £5.40.
And Aptamil 800mg baby milk, which appears to be out of stock virtually everywhere but usually costs around £10 is going for more than £17 online.
Sarah McCullough, mum to Lucas, 20 months and Ashton, 10 weeks, spoke exclusively to Fabulous.
“It's appalling, especially given the circumstances of so many people out of work and struggling to get by," she said, explaining she had hunted high and low for baby milk.
She added: “Babies depend on their formula and for someone to put a mother under pressure to pay out crazy money for their child’s survival is absolutely disgusting.”
The 26-year-old from County Down, Northern Ireland, has been struggling to get milk since panic buying started, normally getting it in her weekly Asda order.
“But when I went online they didn't have any in stock and also didn't have any delivery slots close enough to deliver the milk before running out,” she explained.
“I checked other supermarkets online and had no luck.
“I then checked Amazon and they wouldn't have stock until late April otherwise I would have to pay extortionate prices.”
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Sarah recruited relatives who searched supermarkets across Northern and the Republic of Ireland and in the north of England to no avail.
Eventually a friend from Facebook, aware of her plight, found just four formulas which he posted to her. “He got me two as I didn't want to be greedy and knew other mothers would be in the same situation,” she said.
“It was very stressful, as it’s hard enough taking two small children out and even worse in current circumstances - but the thought of traveling around the country to try and find baby milk which is normally just delivered to me once a week seemed ridiculous,” she said.
But she is not alone as looking online, shops simply don’t have any in stock.
Boots says: “Stock coming soon. We’re sorry this product is temporarily out of stock.”
Tesco says: “This product is out of stock."
Similar problems exist with all the big supermarkets and chemists, with people on social media accusing some others of ‘panic buying’ formula as coronavirus hits.
There have also been accusations some people preempted the problems that would occur and deliberately overbought it so they could sell it on for huge amounts.
Keith Bristow shared a picture of a trolley piled high with baby milk in his local Asda in Bristol on March 7.
He told Fabulous: “My daughter called me to say that her local Asda in Birmingham had sold out of baby milk."
Babies depend on their formula and for someone to put a mother under pressure to pay out crazy money for their child’s survival is absolutely disgusting.Sarah McCullough
“Unbelievable. I found plenty in the Asda in Bedminster, Bristol, so picked up two boxes," he continued.
“On my way around the shop I saw a gent with at 20 boxes in a trolley... he must have been at least 60.
"So either he's a mature father of 20 kids or he's got a lot of grandchildren...perish the thought that he could be trying to sell it on Ebay and hike the price.”
Moley Brown, 34, from Borehamwood, Hampshire, is mum to newborn Azzi.
She admitted she was tempted to search for formula online, and was now looking at weaning her girl onto food before she was ready.
She said: “I have bought some baby porridge just in case.
“It's time to be ahead now.
“We were relaxed about items and did not panic buy.
“When eventually we needed to top up our items we soon discovered there were no items to buy. The shops were out of nappies, baby formula, baby wipes, soap, hand wash, Calpol and most non perishable foods.
“A friend found formula milk in a different town for us and we have a community group page set up to help people unable to find items they need just in case someone has anything spare."
She continued: “The worst thing about it is people taking advantage of the situation and buying all important stock and selling it on for profit.
For a lot of the working class, we have to wait to be paid before being able to buy food and necessities for our children and babies.”
Jordan Waters, 27, from Penicuik, Scotland, is mum to Asher, four months.
She told Fabulous: “On Saturday I received a phone call from my friend who works in the local Tesco asking if I had enough milk for Asher as people had been in stock piling and the shop was basically running out of stock.
“She checked and there was no milk left that I use for Asher (SMA stage 1)."
We are monitoring the situation as it evolves, our international security teams have been working around the clock, and we continue to work closely with authorities including Trading Standards.eBay spokeswoman
“I then asked a friend to check Asda for me and there was none," she continued.
"At this point I wasn’t worried as I thought there would be more stock in, on Sunday myself and my partner were going to do our usual weekly shop.
“Again no milk in Tesco or Asda or any of the local shops in our area.
“We travelled over 20 miles to find milk for our son and still had no luck.
“My friend went over to Perth for the day and managed to get us one tin of milk.
“I later went on Facebook to see people selling formula milk for triple the price. I am currently on maternity leave and don’t get a decent income coming in because of this so I certainly refuse to pay £30 a tin.
“I am so lucky to have friends who were so keen and eager to help me. I work in a local pub/restaurant and some of the locals came up to my house who had travelled and found milk for us.
“But for some parents it must be so hard and stressful as there could be parents who don’t have enough money to stock up or be able to travel to get access to milk.”
A spokeswoman from Danone, who produce Cow and Gate and Aptamil, slammed the sellers.
She told Fabulous: “We would like parents to know that we are not behind or endorsing any unnecessary price increases on formula products during this time. We have not increased our prices to retailers.”
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Meanwhile, eBay vowed to tackle the problem with a spokeswoman saying: “eBay does not tolerate sellers exploiting other users.
“We are monitoring the situation as it evolves, our international security teams have been working around the clock, and we continue to work closely with authorities including Trading Standards.”
Fabulous contacted all the sellers in this article with only one responding: "Sorry you feel that way."
After Fabulous published this article eBay revealed it tackling the issues raised to tackle unfair practices, publishing a note on its Twitter page.
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