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CBS 58 Investigates: State cracks down on price gouging during pandemic

CBS 58 Investigates: State cracks down on price gouging during pandemic

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Last week, House Democrats introduced the COVID-19 Price Gouging Prevention Act to crack down on retailers taking advantage of the Coronavirus pandemic.

In Wisconsin, state agencies are also making sure sellers of things like masks, gloves and toilet paper are keeping prices fair. On March 12, Governor Tony Evers invoked a state law banning price gouging.

“Since that time we’ve received hundreds of complaints about price gouging,” said Lara Sutherlin with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection (DATCP).

Experts say it’s normal for prices to go up during a crisis, but within reason. According to Wisconsin law, sellers cannot increase prices more than 15 percent higher than prices in the last 60 days, unless there’s a reason.

“There has to be an increased cost to that seller and that has to be verifiable to justify why the price increase,” Sutherlin said.

The director of the Wisconsin Public Interest and Research Group says they are also working to catch price gougers.

“We sent a letter from state legislators all across the country to the five largest online platforms so that includes Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Craigslist, Facebook, to encourage them to take more steps to crackdown on price gouging,” said Peter Skopec, Director of WISPIRG & WISPIRG Foundation.

So far, DATCP says there doesn’t seem to be a huge problem with sellers in the state.

“In terms of the market we think that consumers should rest assured there’s not widespread price gouging,” Sutherlin said.

But DATCP did send 16 letters to companies around the state accused of price gouging. Including n95sales.com, which sold N95 masks. That site has since been taken down.

“We sent out letters asking for justification for the prices and asking for documentation to support those prices,” Sutherlin said.

DATCP is still investigating those cases. Violators could face up to a $10,000 fine.

If you want to report price gouging, CLICK HERE

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MichaelGroves 47 days ago
Another media craptactulur need to take credit for something that has already been done. President Trump weeks back made it a federal crime for those businesses that gouge shoppers. Funny how CBS 58 is just now getting around to investigate the gouging. I bet they say they don't find any. If it is a minority owned store. It'll be ignored if it's going on or not.
JonN MichaelGroves 46 days ago
It's a crime to shoot another human being, but it doesn't stop some people from doing it anyway. Better to have people being informed regularly, and reporting it if they see a business doing it.
PhilipSchwigel JonN 46 days ago
It's a crime only if you get caught. That doesn't detour most people. They can give a shit about whether it's a crime or not. In most cases it's "The Reck'on-ing", getting back. Once you get caught you go the shit house for 4-5 years & get out smiling. It's Justice. Payback for being wronged by others. In some cases it's just because the shooter doesn't give a shit. He shoots at others just to be ugly, because he/she can. They know the firearm gives them the power. The power of God, to take another's life without any rhyme or reason. They also know the victims are usually not armed which gives them the upper hand, so to speak. What's really funny is what they mistake Quick Draw Mcquawrl for another unarmed victim. They end up on the receiving end of what they are dishing out. OMG, That reminds me of a little story in the Milwaukee Journal where this young man of color was now left sitting at his parents home with a bullet in his ass that the doctors say they can not take out. He was shot during an attempted armed robbery of a poor old man, walking his dog. Fortunate for the old man, he was a little quicker on the draw than the would be robbers who now claim their innocence & that the old man intentionally shot him in the ass so he couldn't ever again be able to sit down. O.K. The poor boys friend suffered fatal wounds with his encounter with the old man. Oh, by the way, the poor 19 year old punk with the bullet in his ass was now being charged as the aggressor in an earlier strong arm robbery where the victim was pistol whipped & received serious injuries as a result. Karma, at it's best. Crime only pays if you don't get caught. I remember another story in the Journal about some poor innocent crimestar who had recently hoodwinked a victims wallet & cell phone from him at gunpoint. The crimestar entered the Milwaukee County Transit City Bus one day, & for some unfound reason got the shit kicking of his life. He faced many days in the ICU in the hospital at tax payers expense. Now he's a victim & the lawsuits are pending.
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