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BBB warning about price gouging amid coronavirus emergency

Gavin Newsom
Posted at 5:56 PM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-13 20:56:43-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The Better Business Bureau said over the last few weeks, it received reports from consumers about the frequency of scams involving the coronavirus.

According to the BBB, it is encouraging state attorneys general offices to initiate state price-gouging laws, which automatically go into effect during a declared state of emergency in order to prevent businesses from over-charging customers who are preparing to take preventative measures from getting sick.

The BBB is also warning businesses to avoid the temptation to raise prices during a situation such as storm or a pandemic because it may be illegal to do so in certain states and because it erodes marketplace trust.

Anyone who suspects price gouging during a declared state of emergency should report it to Better Business Bureau by filing a complaint,, or to BBB Ad Truth. Consumers have an option to report these activities to the state attorney general’s office. When reporting a price gouging complaint, gather as much information as safely possible and follow these three tips:

  • Be as specific about the transaction as possible, including the name and address of the business, names of any employees involved, and information detailing the spike in pricing.
  • Gather together documentation supporting the price gouging (receipts, photos of products and their advertised pricing, invoices, etc.)
  • Compare pricing of similar products with other sellers in the area as well as online. It’s important to note similarities and differences between brands, size/quantity, manufacturers, model numbers, and prices.