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North Carolina Department of Justice now investigating nine online sellers for price gouging

Attorney General Josh Stein is working with Amazon to investigate nine North Carolina businesses and sellers over price gouging concerns.

Attorney General Josh Stein with the North Carolina Department of Justice announced he is working with Amazon to investigate nine North Carolina businesses and sellers over price gouging concerns, Friday.

The Department of Justice says Stein was notified by Amazon that sellers raised prices dramatically for items that have been in high demand during the coronavirus pandemic, including hand sanitizer and N95 masks.

“At a time when North Carolinians are trying to take care of themselves and their families in the face of an unprecedented crisis, some sellers are instead focused on unfairly taking people’s money,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “My office will investigate these cases and take action if we believe they’ve violated the price gouging law. Any other would-be gougers should take note: if you take advantage of consumers during this crisis, we will come after you and hold you accountable.”

Amazon identified these North Carolina-based sellers as having raised prices on coronavirus-related products more than 40 percent between Feb. 10 and March 16, 2020, and as a group having generated more than $100,000 in sales as a result of those higher prices. North Carolina’s price gouging law was triggered by Gov. Cooper’s declaration of a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 10, 2020.

The Department of Justice says the price gouging law that protects people from scammers is currently in effect in North Carolina, and their office has received more than 450 complaints.

The department says Attorney General Stein and the North Carolina Department of Justice will be reviewing price gouging complaints from consumers closely and are prepared to take action against any businesses engaging in price gouging activities.

Visit the North Carolina Department of Justice’s website for more information.

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