Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is sending a warning to Amazon, Facebook, eBay, and other online marketplaces that they are not exempt from price-gouging laws.
“Online marketplaces are continuing to grow in popularity for consumers, and we are noticing an increase in price-gouging practices online just as we have at true brick-and-mortar shops,” Nessel said. “We urge retailers with online marketplaces to monitor those venues for price-gouging and take commonsense measures to protect consumers from wrongfully inflated prices.”
Nessel joined a coalition of other attorneys general who are recommending businesses do the following:
- Set policies and enforce restrictions on price-gouging during emergencies: Online retail platforms should prevent unconscionable price increases from occurring by creating and enforcing strong policies that prevent sellers from deviating in any significant way from the product’s price before an emergency. Such policies should examine historical seller prices, and the price offered by other sellers of the same or similar products, to identify and eliminate price gouging.
Trigger price-gouging protections prior to an emergency declaration, such as when your systems detect conditions like pending weather events or future possible health risks.
Implement a complaint portal for consumers to report potential price-gouging.