According to Amazon, since the coronavirus outbreak began, the site has seen a "significant increase in demand," especially for medical and cleaning supplies. It has also observed third-party retailers raising prices on things like masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant sprays. Now, Amazon is asking consumers to cooperate with a Department of Justice (DOJ) probe into coronavirus price gouging. (Note: Frankly, I've not understood why Amazon didn't just kick these selling creeps off when they began to list exorbitant prices, such as a two-buck bottle of Purell hand sanitizer selling for an average of $10-$20!)
However, supposedly, Amazon sent an email to customers who may have purchased items from sellers guilty of price gouging. Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice said it will hold anyone who violates antitrust laws accountable.
"Individuals or companies that fix prices or rig bids for personal health protection equipment such as sterile gloves and face masks could face criminal prosecution," the department said in a press release. The definition of price gouging in a national emergency means a price that's 25 percent or more higher than the average over the last 30 days. Sellers can be fined up to $1,000 per violation and blocked from doing business.
Let's see by alpha what the law is about reporting these good-for-nothings who are literally killing people by buying up all necessities and then charging such an outrageous price that many Americans can't afford to purchase.
Alabama: The Alabama Attorney General's office investigates consumer complaints, including cases of fraud and price gouging. You can file a complaint at www.alabamaag.gov/consumercomplaint or by calling 1-800-392-5658 to receive a form by mail to complete and return. Amazon and eBay are forwarding potential price gouging cases posted by Alabama sellers to the state AG's office for investigation. Also, file a complaint from all three states with the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org/consumer-complaints. The Better Business Bureau tracks known scams and shares other COVID-19 related information at bbb.org/coronavirus.
Georgia: The state's attorney general asks Georgians to take a picture if you have a receipt or if there's a price tag. Additionally, if you observe a sign advertising the product, send a photo of it as well. To report scams or price gouging, please contact the Georgia Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division by going to consumer.ga.gov or by calling 404-651-8600.
Tennessee: Its price gouging statute was activated when Governor Bill Lee declared a state of emergency prompted by the spread of COVID-19. This declaration triggered the state's anti-price gouging law which prohibits vendors from charging too much during a crisis tied to a state of emergency. File a consumer complaint in one of the following ways:
* Report issues of price gouging and fake/misleading product claims and service offers to the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs by filing a consumer complaint at https://www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral/working-for-tennessee/consumer/file-a-complaint.html.
* If you need assistance with a complaint, please call 615-741-4737 or email email@example.com. Please do remember, though, let your eyes be the best vigilante. If searching for disinfectant wipes, for example, and all you see is a two-pack of fifty travel wipes for $19.99 plus S&H (which is actually a much better price than many we've seen recently), you know Sam Scammer is behind this post. All the more reason to be consistent about sheltering at home ... please.
Contact Ellen Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org