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AG James warns of price gouging during pandemic

Jan 05, 2022 5:30 am

The Ravena News-Herald is reporting New York Attorney General Letitia James last month issued a consumer alert to New Yorkers about potential price gouging of over-the-counter COVID-19 testing products for at-home use, as well as other in-demand essential products. The alert comes during a significant surge of COVID-19 cases, which has caused an increased demand for at-home testing kits. The AG's office has received complaints of COVID-19 testing products being sold at double or triple their retail price. A standard BinaxNOW brand test kit can cost between $14 and $25 for a package of two tests, however, there have been reports of the same product being sold for more than $40 and up to $70 per package. State law prohibits merchants from taking unfair advantage of consumers by selling goods or services that are vital to their health, safety or welfare for an “unconscionably excessive” price. In 2021, legislation was passed that substantially strengthened the AG's ability to bring charges against anyone who violates the statute. James said, “If New Yorkers see exorbitant price increases on testing kits or other goods vital and necessary for health, safety and welfare, they are encouraged to report it to my office immediately. And fraudsters are on notice that if they attempt to price gouge during this new surge, we will not hesitate to take action.” Anyone who believes they are the victim of deceptive practices or price gouging is encouraged to file a complaint online at the AG's website or by calling 800-771-7755. Read more in the Ravena News-Herald.

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