FRANKFORT, Ky. (WBKO) -- Attorney General Daniel Cameron Thursday issued subpoenas to six third-party sellers in Kentucky who used Amazon’s online platform to engage in suspected price gouging during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The sellers allegedly engaged in the price gouging of essential emergency and medical supplies, including hand sanitizer and N95 respirator masks. Some sellers inflated the price of these items by as much as 1,951 percent when marketing to consumers.
“Kentuckians who purchase essential medical and emergency supplies should feel confident that they are not being taken advantage of because of the health crisis,” said Attorney General Cameron. “The egregious actions of these third-party sellers will not be tolerated in Kentucky, and the subpoenas we issued should serve as a warning to anyone who tries to illegally profit from COVID-19. I am grateful to Amazon for working with us to stop these predatory practices by third-party sellers.”
Amazon worked with Attorney General Cameron to identify the top price gougers based in Kentucky. Over half of the sellers were served with cease and desist orders, and investigations are continuing.
When filing a price-gouging complaint, consumers are encouraged to report as many details as possible about the suspected price gouging, including the name and address of the seller/retailer, the item purchased, the price of the item after the emergency declaration, and the price of the item before the emergency declaration, if known.
If a refund is sought, consumers should also keep receipts from the transaction to show proof of purchase.
The Attorney General can seek restitution for victims of price gouging and may seek civil penalties against sellers of up to $25,000 for multiple price gouging violations within a 24-hour period.