AG Herring warns retailers to monitor price gouging on online marketplaces

AG Herring warns retailers to monitor price gouging on online marketplaces
(Source: WVIR)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring is warning retailers that price gouging laws are not exempt from online marketplaces.

Herring, along with 33 other attorneys general, is uring Amazon, Facebook, Ebay, Walmart and Craigslist to better monitor price gouging practices by online sellers who are using their services.

“We are in the middle of a national public health crisis and the last thing folks should be worrying about is someone charging insanely high prices for necessary goods like cleaning supplies, hand sanitizers, or medicines,” said Attorney General Herring. “While Virginia law offers protections for folks against price gouging, online marketplaces like Amazon, Facebook or Craigslist must be regulated by their parent companies to make sure people aren’t taking advantage of this crisis. We must all play our part in making sure that everyone has the things that they need during this unprecedented time and that includes putting a stop to price gouging.”

Herring, along with the others, say in a letter that while they appreciate the efforts being made - more needs to be done to protect American consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The letter lists several examples of price-gouging on these marketplace platforms, all of which took place only in March: on Craigslist, a two-liter bottle of hand sanitizer was being sold for $250; on Facebook Marketplace, an eight-ounce bottle was being sold for $40; and on Ebay, packs of face masks were being sold for $40 and $50,” Herring’s office said in a release.

Herring and the attorneys general recommend the following:

  • Set policies and enforce restrictions on unconscionable price gouging during emergencies
  • Trigger price-gouging protections prior to an emergency declaration
  • Implement a complaint portal for consumers to report potential price gouging

Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.