Updated: May 21, 2020
BBB has seen an increase in complaints from consumers concerning price gouging for critical items such as hand sanitizer, face masks, bottled water, and food as social distancing restrictions have gone into effect in many locations.
Although the definition of price gouging varies by jurisdiction, BBB warns businesses to avoid the temptation to raise prices during an emergency because it may be illegal to do so in certain states and because it erodes marketplace trust.
Anyone who suspects price gouging during a declared state of emergency can file a complaint at www.bbb.org or with their respective state attorney general’s office, or submit an advertising concern at www.bbb.org/ad-truth. Be sure to gather as much information as safely possible and do the following:
Be as specific about the transaction as possible, including the name and address of the business, names of any employees involved, and information detailing the spike in pricing.
Supply any documentation available (receipts, photos of products and their advertised pricing, etc.)
Compare pricing of similar products with other sellers in the area as well as online. It’s important to note similarities and differences between brands, size/quantity, manufacturers, model numbers, and prices.