By Bob Katzen
PROHIBIT PRICE GOUGING – Attorney General Maura Healey held a hearing on implementing stronger price gouging protections for consumers and making permanent the temporary emergency price gouging regulations put into place at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. These emergency regulations prohibit any business from selling any goods or services necessary for the health, safety or welfare of the public for an unconscionably high price during a declared statewide or national emergency. Prior to this, the only ban on price gouging merely prohibited price gouging in the sale of gasoline and other petroleum products.
“These price gouging regulations will not only protect us from excessively high prices during a crisis, it will also protect our health,” said MASSPIRG Legislative Director Deirdre Cummings. “And in the case of a pandemic, it will help stop the spread of disease.”
Cummings also noted that according to MASSPIRG, overthe last 90 days, the attorney general’s office has reported receiving at least 497 price gouging complaints against 178 different vendors.
“The bottom line is that if the price of something skyrockets during a crisis—or in anticipation of one—it’s price gouging,” continued Cummings. “Whether it’s COVID-19, a tornado, hurricane or blizzard, businesses should not jack up their prices just because people are vulnerable. That is wrong, and we support the attorney general’s efforts to stop it from happening.”