Attorney General William Tong has sent letters to Amazon, Facebook, Ebay, Walmart, and Craigslist urging the online retailers to rigorously monitor price-gouging by sellers on their platforms. The letters were cosigned by a coalition of 34 state attorneys general.
Some examples they cite include a two-liter bottle of hand sanitizer being sold on Craigslist for $250, an eight-ounce bottle of sanitizer being sold on Facebook Marketplace for $40 and packs of face masks being sold on Ebay for between $40 and $50.
Tong is calling on the retailers to, among other steps, implement a complaint portal for consumers to report potential price gouging.
He says irresponsible and unethical sellers are using this crisis as an opportunity to profit and major corporations can and must do more to protect consumers. Price gouging during a public health emergency is against Connecticut law— and that is true for online sales and brick and mortar shops.
Acting in coordination with the Department of Consumer Protection, the Office of the Attorney General may file suit against price gougers and seek appropriate relief, including injunctive terms, restraining orders, restitution, and civil financial penalties designed to deter future unscrupulous sales.
Anyone who suspects price gouging should file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General online at https://www.dir.ct.gov/ag/complaint/. Consumers are encouraged to file their complaints online and list accurate information about the company, retail store or online vendor where the suspected instance of price gouging occurred. In the complaint, consumers should list the name and address of the retailer, the date and time of the instance, and also submit any pictures that show the suspected price hike.
If consumers are unable to file a complaint online or via email, they can call the Office of the Attorney General at 860-808-5318.