Indiana

AG Curtis Hill Partners With Amazon, Facebook to Combat Price Gouging Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

Attorney General Curtis Hill announced Thursday that his office has partnered with Amazon and Facebook to fight price gouging within the companies’ respective sites and marketplaces.

Attorney General Hill said his office can send price-gouging complaints related to Amazon directly to the company so it can investigate them.

Amazon will also send market analysis information to the office, which will allow the office to better identify sellers engaging in bad behavior, according to Attorney General Hill.

“We are communicating directly with Amazon and Facebook so that together we can take action against those who feel it is acceptable to scam Hoosiers, many of whom are struggling financially due to the coronavirus pandemic,” AG Hill said. “Price gouging is an unconscionable practice, and we will do everything within our legal right to stop it.”

Amazon says it has already removed more than 500,000 offers from its stores due to coronavirus-related price gouging. The company said it has also suspended more than 3,900 accounts in its U.S. store for violating its fair pricing policies.

Facebook will also work with the office to remove price-gouging listings and advertisements from its Marketplace. The company has banned the advertisement and sale of medical masks, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and coronavirus (COVID-19) testing kits, as well as prohibited products that claim to cure or prevent the virus.

The Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Attorney General has received more than 150 price-gouging complaints since Gov. Eric Holcomb declared a public health emergency in response to the coronavirus outbreak. While specific price-gouging authority in Indiana law refers to fuel prices during a state of emergency, the Office of the Attorney General has authority to enforce the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act, which permits appropriate enforcement of any unfair, abusive, deceptive or unconscionable conduct.

If you suspect an Amazon or Facebook seller is charging excessive prices for goods you need, you may submit a consumer complaint to the Consumer Protection Division by clicking here. If you need additional information regarding the Office’s Consumer Protection Division, please call 1-800-382-5516.

For up-to-date information about the coronavirus pandemic, please visit the Indiana State Department of Health website at www.in.gov/coronavirus/. You may also call the department 24/7 at 1-877-826-0011.

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