CARSON CITY — Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford wrote a letter urging Amazon, Facebook, eBay, Walmart and Craigslist to more rigorously monitor inflated consumer price practices by online sellers using their services. AG Ford is joined by 31 attorneys general in writing this letter.
“As our community faces an unprecedented public health crisis, I’m asking online retailers to do more at a time that requires national unity,” Ford said. “Together, we need to crack down on inflated pricing so our consumers can get the goods and supplies they need at fair prices. Nevadans who are impacted by inflated pricing should file a complaint with my office on our website.”
The letter lists several examples of inflated prices on these marketplace platforms, all of which took place only in March: on Craigslist a two-liter bottle of hand sanitizer was being sold for $250; on Facebook Marketplace an eight-ounce bottle was being sold for $40; and on Ebay packs of face masks were being sold for $40 and $50.
In their letter, the attorneys general recommend several changes to protect consumers from inflated pricing:
- Set policies
and enforce restrictions on unconscionable inflated consumer prices
during emergencies: Online retail platforms should prevent
unconscionable price increases from occurring by creating
and enforcing strong policies that prevent sellers from deviating in
any significant way from the product’s price before an emergency. Such
policies should examine historical seller prices, and the price offered
by other sellers of the same or similar products,
to identify and eliminate inflated pricing;
- Trigger inflated pricing protections prior to an emergency declaration, such as when your systems detect conditions like pending weather events or future possible health risks; and
- Implement a complaint portal for consumers to report potential inflated price increases.
In addition to Nevada, other states that participated in this letter include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming and Puerto Rico.