Illinois Attorney General warns businesses on price gouging amid coronavirus outbreak

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul warned businesses Tuesday that his office would take action to stop unfair pricing on items needed to stop the spread of the coronavirus amid a pandemic.

His office has fielded more than 100 complaints in recent days from people about prices for hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, face masks and disinfectant sprays, according to a news release. Raoul said his office was directing businesses to maintain fair pricing particularly on those items.

Raoul’s office is works with state’s attorneys to stop price gouging, according to the release.

On Monday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued an executive order that prohibits price gouging and gives Raoul’s office enforcement authority. The Attorney General’s office is prioritizing enforcement action, the release said.

“Now more than ever, it is crucial to put people before profits, and I will not hesitate to use my office’s authority to take decisive action against those that deliberately raise the prices of items that are crucial to stopping the spread of the coronavirus. I am committed to collaborating with partners in law enforcement and retail to ensure that businesses do not seize upon this crisis to make money,” Raoul said. “Price gouging will not be tolerated, and I will use all tools at my office’s disposal to hold accountable anyone whose pricing prevents Illinois residents from purchasing necessities that can save the lives of our most vulnerable residents by stopping the spread of the coronavirus.”

Raoul’s office is encouraging people to file complaints related to unfair pricing. It is also watching products on websites including Amazon, eBay and Facebook and will continue to investigate and attempt to mediate allegations of unfair pricing, according to the news release.

The Attorney General’s office also encouraged consumers to buy only items they need and not to hoard items in high demand.

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