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More than 130 price gouging complaints filed with Indiana Attorney General

Report: Sales of bottled water to soar
Posted at 8:12 AM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-19 15:51:44-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Attorney General’s office has received 134 complaints in the past two weeks about price gouging when it comes to consumer goods like toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning supplies.

The complaints include a variety of stores, including big box stores like Target, Walmart and CVS, as well as grocery stores, gas stations, and online retailers.

However, just because a shopper suspects a store is intentionally inflating prices does not necessarily mean the store is price-gouging customers.

Nearly all of the 134 complaints remain open and under investigation by the state of Indiana. A few have been referred to other states.

The Attorney General’s office is asking customers to take pictures and provide proof or documentation, and attach them to the complaint.

“We’re encouraging anyone who has experienced price gouging to file consumer complaints with us,” said Betsy DeNardi, director of consumer protection at the Indiana Attorney General’s office.

DeNardi said to investigate complaints, the Attorney General’s office reaches out to businesses about why prices may have increased.

“If our office receives information and is able to prove that they have engaged in price gouging, which is an unfair or unconscionable business practice, we could potentially pursue that under the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act,” DeNardi said. “We can obtain restitution for consumers, injunctive relief telling them they have to stop, and we can obtain a penalty of up to $5,000 per violation.”

The AG’s office has not yet brought any actions in court against Indiana businesses for price gouging related to COVID-19, nor has it issued any cease and desist letters.

Click here to file a price-gouging complaint.