It’s illegal to drastically raise the price of products during a public emergency. But Pennsylvania officials say consumers are reporting thousands of cases

Written by on March 19, 2020

It’s illegal to drastically raise the price of products during a public emergency. But Pennsylvania officials say consumers are reporting thousands of cases

By Chloe Nouvelle

March 19, 2020

NPR.org

Price gouging is just one more thing people are dealing with as the coronavirus pandemic takes hold in Pennsylvania. As WLVR’s Chloe Nouvelle reports, the attorney general’s office has already received more than a thousand tips about inflated prices, and the number continues to climb. 

The number currently is 1365 emails. 49 complaint forms 

Sarah Frasch is the Director of the Pennsylvania Attorney’s General’s Bureau of Consumer Protections. 

The law specifically says that a business cannot increase its prices, more than 20% plus any distribution charges that advertised or sold products, seven days prior to the state of emergency being declared. 

Frasch says customers are reporting serious infractions. 

“They would take the entire package of face masks, open it up, and sell each individual mask for $25,” she said.

The price gouging isn’t just local. A Pennsylvania watchdog group says it’s seen sharp spikes in prices on Amazon since the outbreak.* And scams selling ineffective products, like hand sanitizer.  

The Pennsylvania A-G’s office is encouraging consumers to send in tips, complaints and receipts so officials can investigate any potential price gouging, and try to stop it. 


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