April 2, 2020
Authored by: Susan Brice and Zeke Katz
As shelter-in-place orders began to sweep across the United States, many store shelves emptied and, in some instances, prices for certain products skyrocketed, including products that are essential to everyday living and staying safe during the COVID-19 crisis.
As a result, one of the many hot-button business, and corresponding legal, issues to arise out of the COVID-19 crisis is price gouging. Price gouging occurs when sellers raise their prices for goods and services to take advantage of the consequent increased demand for those items, often during emergencies. Price gouging has ensued following large scale natural disasters such as hurricanes or wildfires, where sellers have drastically elevated prices for basic necessities, safety equipment and medical supplies that were in high demand following those catastrophic events. As many consumers, businesses and state attorneys general are aware, allegations of price gouging for those same items have been prevalent in the midst of the