AG Herring says he has warned 114 businesses.
More than 100 Virginia businesses have been warned about price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic, Attorney General Mark Herring’s office said.
Herring has sent at least 114 warning letters to businesses in the state, with the attorney general receiving complaints on products including toilet paper, hand sanitizer and paper towels, among other things.
As of Tuesday, Herring’s office had received more than 500 price gouging complaints from across Virginia, including the Richmond region, spokeswoman Charlotte Gomer said.
“Attorney General Herring and his team are reviewing all complaints and will be aggressively investigating any potential violations and pursuing violators,” Gomer said.
Gomer said that Virginia’s Post-Disaster AntiPrice Gouging Act, which prohibits businesses from charging “unconscionable prices” for “necessary goods and services” during a crisis, also requires that the complaints be kept confidential, meaning the attorney general’s office is not publicly identifying the businesses it has warned.
Herring said at the end of March, the first month of Virginia’s state of emergency, that his office had sent 42 letters to businesses in response to price gouging complaints. That number has increased nearly three-fold in the past two months.
“It is unfortunate that businesses will take advantage of a situation like a public health crisis to try and make more money off of necessary goods like hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, face masks, or water,” Herring said in March.
“My office and I take price gouging complaints very seriously and I hope that these letters will send a strong message to businesses across Virginia that price gouging will not be tolerated here.”
Residents can file price gouging complaints by calling (800) 552-9963, emailing consumer@oag. state.va.us or through an online form on the attorney general’s website.