By: Don Shaw email: don.shaw@pennsylvaniachronicle.com (570) 543-2961

PA Attorney General settles price gouging case for $119.88 in restitution, fines Delaware County convenience store $600

PA Attorney General settles price gouging case for $119.88 in restitution, fines Delaware County convenience store $600

Harrisburg, PA

After weeks of warning people several times a week on Facebook, even telling Pennsylvanians he’s received more than 4,600 complaints the Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro says:

My Office has shut down price gouging efforts at a convenience store in Delaware Co.

As we continue to confront COVID-19, merchants *must* obey the law. You cannot jack up prices and rip consumers off in a crisis.

The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General entered into an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) with the Fresh & Easy Convenience Store after the Office received a tip alleging that the store was selling Lysol cleaning wipes for $25. After the Office issued a cease and desist letter to the store, and conducted an investigation, the Office learned that Fresh & Easy sold Lysol wipes for $8.99 and $14.99, depending on the size.

Under the Price Gouging Act, a price increase of more than 20 percent during a declared state of emergency is considered price gouging. The AVC requires Fresh & Easy Convenience Store to pay $600 in civil penalties, in addition to restitution of $119.88 for consumers who purchased the Lysol wipes.  Fresh & Easy also agreed to fully comply with all provisions of the Pennsylvania Consumer Protection Law and Price Gouging Act moving forward.

Consumers who purchased Lysol wipes from Fresh & Easy may be eligible for restitution if they paid more than they should have.  In order to be considered for restitution, consumers should file a consumer complaint form https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/submit-a-complaint/consumer-complaint/ and attach a copy of their receipt showing they purchased the Lysol wipes between March 6, 2020 and May 5, 2020.  Complaints must be submitted by July 6, 2020 to be considered.

The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General has received 4,660 price gouging tips and issued 416 cease-and-desist letters since opening the pricegouging@attorneygeneral.gov tipline in March.