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What to do before filing a price gouging complaint in Michigan

What to do before filing a price gouging complaint in Michigan
Posted at 9:47 AM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 11:14:21-04

The Better Business Bureau is tracking a surge in price gouging.

Price gouging is becoming a huge problem in Michigan as coronavirus fears cause anxious shoppers to overstock items. Both the BBB and the Attorney General are sounding the alarm, urging shoppers in metro Detroit report it.

But what’s truly considered price gouging? How do you spot it? And what do you do in store when you catch it?

The Michigan Attorney General’s office is now reporting more than 1,400 complaints since the virus first began to spread, while the BBB started a Facebook Group that already has more than 20,000 followers, and countless photo evidence.

Most recently, hardware store Menard’s was issued a cease and desist over complaints about the store’s high prices on everything from face masks to bleach.

Under a new executive order, no one can sell a product in the state priced at more than 20 percent higher than what it was on March 9.

But keep in mind some items will be marked up for a reason. That is the old fashioned supply and demand economics

If you see a suspiciously high price, the first thing you should do?

Bring it to the manager’s attention and say why? It could be that it took them more money to get that product in the door. Though, they’d have to be able to prove those additional costs.

As for alleged online price gouging? Amazon says it’s working with state attorneys general to help them prosecute third party sellers for taking advantage of customers’ current fears – doing its own part by pulling 530,000 products from the site.

Keep in mind, if you want to see the retailer held accountable, it’ll start with a complaint.

Be specific about the brand, quantity and size of the item. Take a photo, recording the date and time of shopping, but above all else if the price sounds high, don’t pay it.

To file a complaint, just go to michigan.gov/agcomplaints .


Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

Find out how you can help businesses and restaurants struggling during the pandemic.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.