Washington State Sends Warning Letters to Online Price Gougers

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Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is warning online retailers identified by Amazon.com to stop selling products like hand sanitizer at exorbitant prices during the coronavirus pandemic.

The cease-and-desist letters warn sellers based in the state—one of whom raised prices by more than 600%—that they risk a lawsuit, according to a Tuesday news release from Ferguson (D).

In five letters sent so far, the attorney general instructed the sellers to “immediately stop selling N95 masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes or any other product necessary for the health, safety, and welfare of Washingtonians at an unreasonably excessive price.”

Those who fail to meet Ferguson’s demands could face litigation alleging they violated the state Consumer Protection Act, which allows for a civil penalty of up to $2,000 per individual violation.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Shukovsky in Seattle at pshukovsky@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tina May at tmay@bloomberglaw.com; Katherine Rizzo at krizzo@bgov.com

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