As the tri-state area continues to take social distancing precautions in the battle against the novel coronavirus, The State of Connecticut is taking action against price gouging.

According to an announcement from Connecticut Attorney General William Tong on Tuesday (March 17), the state has received 71 complaints from residents regarding particularly large and unnecessary price increases on basic household supplies.

The Attorney General says his office has received reports such as 7.5 oz hand sanitizer bottles being sold for more than $25, 2 oz. bottles of hand sanitizer being sold at some local gas stations for $10. In some cases, consumers have reported 30-packs of toilet paper and three-packs of disinfectant wipes retailing for nearly $40.

Aside from those select instances, the Office of the Attorney General says they've also received price gouging complaints from online vendors about price hikes on items like packs of face masks. In one instance, a pack of face masks were retailing for nearly $50, with an added $200 shipping fee.

Addressing local consumers, Attorney General Tong said in a statement:

Bad actors are using this pandemic to take advantage of the vulnerable and those who fear for their health and safety. We will not tolerate price gouging during this public health emergency, and we will take aggressive action to stop it. Consumers should take appropriate precautions to protect themselves personally and financially. Any consumer who suspects an instance of price gouging should contact my office immediately.

In unprecedented times like these, we should all be prepared and cautious, but it's also important to remember that we're all in this together. Please don't take these times as an opportunity to take advantage of your neighbors.

As part of the Connecticut's declaration of civil preparedness and public health emergencies, price gouging is against Connecticut law, and it's important to note that because of those declarations, the Office of the Attorney General "may file suit against price gougers and seek appropriate relief, including injunctive terms, restraining orders, restitution, and civil financial penalties designed to deter future unscrupulous sales."

Anyone who suspects price gouging can file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General online at https://www.dir.ct.gov/ag/complaint/. Consumers are encouraged to file their complaints online and list accurate information about the company, retail store or online vendor where the suspected instance of price gouging occurred. In the complaint, consumers should list the name and address of the retailer, the date and time of the instance, and also submit any pictures that show the suspected price hike.

 

If consumers are unable to file a complaint online or via email, they can call the Office of the Attorney General at 860-808-5318.

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