WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS4) – Rep. Joe Neguse, a Democrat who represents Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District, wants to crackdown on price gouging. The coronavirus outbreak has led to a surge in demand for many essential consumer products, including hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies.
Neguse introduced the Price Gouging Prevention Act, legislation that would prohibit price gouging of consumer goods throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. While several retailers have taken steps to maintain access to these products, there have been numerous reports of merchants taking advantage of the current crisis to charge consumers considerably more for household products.
“It is unacceptable that Americans across the country have been forced to pay higher prices for basic essentials and supplies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Neguse. “Absent a coordinated Federal response, I fear many preventative products will continue to be out of reach for American consumers, thereby placing their health and their family’s health at risk. The Price Gouging Prevention Act will not only protect American consumers throughout the duration of the coronavirus public health emergency, but future national emergencies as well.”
Colorado is one of 15 states that has no law against price gouging. The Price Gouging Prevention Act would prohibit price gouging throughout the current public health crisis, as well as throughout national emergencies in the future.
The legislation directs the Federal Trade Commission to enforce the ban and is based on a California anti-price gouging statute, which prohibits raising the price of many consumer goods and services by more than 10% after an emergency has been declared. Under the California law, violators can face jail time and/or hefty fines.
Earlier this month, Congressman Neguse led a letter urging Attorney General Barr to take action at the Department of Justice to address extensive price gouging. Read the letter here.