A bottle of hand sanitizer selling for $60, a thermometer for $26, 36 rolls of toilet paper for $80. Reports like these quickly turned public attention to price gouging during the coronavirus outbreak. And states took action immediately.
With grocery stores struggling to keep up with demand for cleaning supplies and other necessities, policymakers moved to protect consumers from outrageous price increases.
Thirty-six states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia have statutes or regulations that define price gouging during a disaster or emergency. In most states, price gouging is a violation of unfair or deceptive trade practices law. Many of the laws assess civil penalties, though in some states price gouging is a criminal offense.
Eleven states, Guam and the District of Columbia introduced measures addressing price gouging in their 2020 sessions. Maryland, West Virginia...