"Our focus is to deter price gouging in real-time so consumers can afford essential commodities when they need them most, and we remain committed to holding responsible anyone who would exploit this state of emergency to rip off Floridians".
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Wednesday that despite steps that Facebook, Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and Craigslist have already taken, the problem persists and is highlighted because of increased online shopping during the governor's "stay at home" order.
Trigger price gouging protections prior to an emergency declaration, like pending weather events or future possible health risks.
"The reality is that we're all in this Coronavirus crisis together", Attorney General Reyes said in a statement. "These are a few potential solutions, and we know each of your companies have the ability to implement other ways to protect American consumers during public emergencies".
Shoppers have filed hundreds of complaints of massive price hikes on face masks, sanitizers and other supplies online as they rushed to stock up for the coronavirus pandemic. They also cited a report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group earlier this month that found that 1 in 6 products sold directly by Amazon itself (not through third-party sellers) jumped in price by at least 50% in February.
A group of 32 US states have a message for the nation's leading online platforms: You are not doing enough to stop price gouging amid the coronavirus crisis.
Numerous overpriced items have been removed from the sites, according to Grewal.
Facebook said it has removed ads and sale listings for high-demand items including coronavirus testing kits. "We have dynamic, automated systems in place that locate and remove unfairly priced items", the blog post continues.
Price gouging laws vary across the USA, but they generally go after retailers and wholesalers for unfair markups, particularly during emergencies.
If sellers raise their prices more than 10% during an emergency in the state, they face fines up to $10,000 for their first offense.
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