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Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is warning residents to beware of potential price gouging following Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s state of emergency declaration in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Nessel said this week she’s aware of businesses selling facemasks, hand sanitizers and cleaning supplies at “exceptionally high prices” that could violate the Michigan Consumer Protection Act.
“Supply and demand might be a familiar saying for retailers, but price-gouging is against the law and protecting consumers against unfair business practices is a service my office provides to residents,” Nessel said this week in a statement. “My Consumer Protection team reviews all complaints we receive and determines whether appropriate legal action should be taken. I encourage any consumer who believes they may be a victim of price-gouging to file a report with my office so that we can follow up on those concerns to hold accountable the people who are illegally profiting off of Michiganders’ fears and take legal action if necessary.”
Nessel cited a situation last week in West Michigan in which a hardware store in Allendale was reportedly selling individual face masks in a Ziploc bag for an “exorbitant” price of $10 each.
State law prohibits retailers charging consumers “a price that is grossly in excess of the price at which similar property or services are sold,” and “causing coercion and duress as the result of the time and nature of a sales presentation,” according to Nessel’s statement.
Nessel urged people to report suspected violations by calling 877-765-8388 or online.