DES MOINES, Iowa - Attorney General Tom Miller has joined more than 30 other attorneys general to ask online retailers to be more aaggresive in singling out price-gouging during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Miller says his office has received about 50 formal complaints and roughly 200 informal complaints about excessive pricing at retail stores, online sites and social media platforms. He says the most frequent complaints involved medical masks and respirators, toilet paper or other paper products, hand sanitizer, and cleaning products.
According to a statement from Miller, price gouging violations carry civil penalties of up to $40,000 under the Iowa Consumer Fraud Act.
“It is illegal and unconscionable for sellers to raise prices excessively during this pandemic,” said Miller. “We will pursue anyone who persists in this practice, and that includes individual sellers on social media as well as retailers.”
Miller and the other attorneys general are urging Amazon, Facebook, Ebay, Walmart, and Craigslist to more rigorously monitor price-gouging practices by online sellers using their services.