AG Nessel issues cease and desist to Menards for price-gouging

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LANSING, MI (WILX) -- Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has issued a cease and desist to Menards after reports of price-gauging.

The attorney general's office said it has received 18 complaints from consumers about face masks, bleach, and other products being sold at high prices.

Nessel's office said investigators have found the store doubled the price of cleaning products like bleach and significantly raised the price of face masks while tying their purchase to an in-store rebate.

“Big box stores are not immune to the Michigan Consumer Protection Act or the Governor’s Executive Order,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “Large corporations must also play by the rules, and my office will work diligently to ensure this state’s consumers are treated fairly and not abused by businesses seeking to unlawfully jack prices up to line their pockets with profits at the expense of the public during this time of great need.”

Nessel's office said Menards will have 10 days to respond to the letter or Nessel's office will further investigate the matter and "potentially take legal actions."

"So it went from just being a civil offense to a criminal action and so we can actually prosecute people for that at this point -- we don't want to do that you know were not looking to throw people in jail for this but we want them to stop engaging in that behavior," Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

The attorney general's office said Menards and the state could also agree to an assurance of voluntary compliance.

Nessel's office said retailers may be in violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act if they are doing the following:
• Charging the consumer a price that is grossly in excess of the price at which similar property or services are sold; and
• Causing coercion and duress as the result of the time and nature of a sales presentation.

If you suspect price-gouging, you are encouraged to report it here, or by calling 877-765-8388.

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