RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Many people who have rushed to local grocery and convenience stores in search of cabinet necessities like bread and water have been met with price gouging. However, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring is taking steps to help crack down on the practice.
Herring announced Tuesday, March 31, he would be sending out warning letters to businesses in the state who have received a complaint.
The letters will ask for documentation related to the complaint, advise the businesses to stop price gouging practices, and remind them the Office of the Attorney General has the authority to investigate all possible violations. The office said businesses that fail to stop price gouging could be awarded civil penalties.
So far the office has sent out 42 letters.
“It is unfortunate that businesses will take advantage of a situation like a public health crisis to try and make more money off of necessary goods like hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, face masks, or water,” Herring said. “My office and I take price gouging complaints very seriously and I hope that these letters will send a strong message to businesses across Virginia that price gouging will not be tolerated here.”
Price gouging is defined by Virginia’s Post-Disaster Anti-Price Gouging Act as a supplier charging “unconscionable prices” for “necessary goods and services” 30 days after a declared state of emergency.
Some of the items covered by the act include:
- Hand sanitizer
- Cleaning products
For more information or to file a complaint, call (800) 552-9963 or fill out a price-gouging complaint form and either mail it to 202 North Ninth Street, Richmond, VA 23219 or email it to email@example.com.
If you file a complaint, here is the information you should have:
- The store’s name and address
- The date it happened
- Details about the item being reported, what it is, it’s size, etc.
- How much you were charged
- If the item is similarly priced at other stores
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