Attorneys General Warn Online Marketplaces Aren’t Exempt from Price Gouging Laws
Lincoln, NE ― Today, Attorney General Peterson joined a letter with 32 Attorneys General urging Amazon, Facebook, eBay, Walmart, and Craigslist to more rigorously monitor price gouging practices by online sellers using their services.
“We want the business community and American consumers to know that we endeavor to balance the twin imperatives of commerce and consumer protection in the marketplace,” said the Attorneys General in their letter. “And, while we appreciate reports of the efforts made by platforms and online retailers to crack down on price gouging as the American community faces an unprecedented public health crisis, we are calling on you to do more at a time that requires national unity.”
“I encourage people to file complaints with our office if they believe price gouging is occurring in Nebraska. We will investigate, and when possible, prosecute to the fullest extent,” stated Attorney General Peterson.
The letter lists several examples of price gouging on these marketplace platforms, all of which took place only in March: on Craigslist, a two-liter bottle of hand sanitizer was being sold for $250; on Facebook Marketplace, an eight-ounce bottle was being sold for $40; and on eBay, packs of face masks were being sold for $40 and $50.
The Attorneys General recommend several changes to protect consumers from price gouging, including enhanced policies to detect and prevent unconscionable price gouging during emergencies.
The Nebraska Attorney General was joined on the letter by the Attorneys General of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming, and Puerto Rico.