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Michigan attorney general warns of price-gouging during coronavirus outbreak

Posted at 8:44 AM, Mar 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 18:23:48-04

(WXYZ) — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is warning residents to be aware of businesses engaging in potential price-gouging.

The advice comes after the state's emergency declaration late Tuesday due to the first positive cases of coronavirus.

The state attorney general's department says it is aware of businesses selling face masks, hand sanitizers and cleaning supplies at exceptionally high prices, likely in violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act.

“Supply and demand might be a familiar saying for retailers, but price-gouging is against the law and protecting consumers against unfair business practices is a service my office provides to residents,” Nessel said in a press release. “My Consumer Protection team reviews all complaints we receive and determines whether appropriate legal action should be taken. I encourage any consumer who believes they may be a victim of price-gouging to file a report with my office so that we can follow up on those concerns to hold accountable the people who are illegally profiting off of Michiganders’ fears and take legal action if necessary.”

Retailers can be in violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act if they are:

  • Charging the consumer a price that is grossly in excess of the price at which similar property or services are sold and
  • Causing coercion and duress as the result of the time and nature of a sales presentation

Michigan residents are urged to report any violations online or by calling 877-765-8388.