Price-Gouging Will Be Prosecuted During MD Coronavirus Emergency

This article originally appeared on the Annapolis Patch

ANNAPOLIS, MD — As part of his emergency orders Monday to close non-essential businesses and direct the state’s response to the new coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Larry Hogan said the state will charge anyone price-gouging. That’s defined as a profit margin of more than 10 percent on everyday household items and essentials.

“Retailers who attempt to exploit this crisis for profit or personal gain will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Hogan’s order said. Read the emergency order.

Items that are protected by the price-gouging measure include: food, beverages, fuel, water, ice, medicine, personal care and hygiene products, medical supplies and equipment, cleaning products, pet food, auto parts, building supplies, computers, batteries, internet and phone service, and more. See the full list below.

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Violations of the anti–price gouging order are a violation of the Consumer Protection Act and are subject to consumer restitution and civil penalties of $10,000 per violation. A violation is also subject to criminal prosecution as a misdemeanor.

Attorney General Brian Frosh’s office said file price-gouging complaints online at http://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/Pages/CPD/complaint.aspx. It helps to take a photograph of the product with its inflated price, and give details of the store and the product.

You can also call the state’s Consumer Hotline at 410-528-8662.

Related:

Gov. Hogan’s Anti-Price Gouging Order by Deb Eatock Belt on Scribd

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