AG Nessel takes action against online retailer for price-gouging amidst coronavirus

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. (WILX)
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. (WILX)(WILX)
Published: Mar. 18, 2020 at 6:08 PM EDT
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Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel took action against an individual selling high-priced products online through eBay as her department increases efforts to catch price-gougers, according to a news release from her office.

The attorney general issued a cease and desist to an individual in Hillsdale after reports the individual was selling face masks online for high prices.

The attorney general's office said they have received 572 price-gouging complaints as of 11 p.m. Tuesday. Nessel's Consumer Protection team has been gathering the complaints online and through its phone lines.

“Our primary focus is consumer protection and ensuring that Michiganders have access to the goods they need at reasonable prices,” Nessel said. “We are not looking to shut down companies or financially jeopardize any business owner with fines, but when proprietors are not following the laws, we will take swift legal action to protect the pocketbooks of residents in this state. I can assure you that anyone trying to illegally profit off this public health emergency will be held accountable.”

The attorney general said hours for the phone lines have been extended from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The Notice of Intended Action that was sent to the individual in Hillsdale can be found

Nessel's office said under the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, a business caught price-gouging could face legal action and be required to pay damages up to $25,000.

So far Nessel has taken the following actions when it comes to taking action against price-gougers:

-Issued an NIA letter to Menards directing the company to cease and desist price-gouging practices;

-Sent an NIA letter to A.M. Cleaning and Supplies directing the store to cease and desist price-gouging practices;

-Contacted several business owners seeking more information if they wished to avoid further investigation or legal action by the Attorney General’s office.

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