Attorney General Curtis Hill said today that consumers have submitted dozens of price-gouging complaints to his office since Gov. Eric Holcomb declared a public health emergency amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Consumers have submitted complaints regarding high prices at superstores, home improvement stores, grocery stores, e-commerce websites and more, Attorney General Hill said. Consumers say these sellers are charging excessive amounts for toilet paper, food, cleaning products and other items.
“Hoosier consumers should never have to pay exorbitant prices for essential products, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic, which is causing thousands to suffer financial hardships,” Attorney General Hill said.
Attorneys from the office’s Consumer Protection Division review all price-gouging complaints and contact the consumers who submit the complaints. If it is determined that a seller committed an unfair or unconscionable business practice, the office then considers issuing a cease and desist letter to that seller.
While specific price-gouging authority in Indiana law refers to fuel prices during a state of emergency, the office has the authority to enforce the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act, which permits appropriate enforcement of any unfair, abusive, deceptive or unconscionable conduct. Since 2017, the Consumer Protection Division has processed 34,000 complaints related to identity theft, licensing and consumer issues.
Attorney General Hill encourages consumers who believe they have been subjected to excessive prices for consumer goods during this ongoing public health emergency to file complaints with the Consumer Protection Division. To file a complaint online, click here. Pictures of the prices and product, as well as copies of receipts, are very beneficial in expediting the complaint through the review process.
In addition to price gouging, Attorney General Hill encourages Hoosiers to file complaints with the Consumer Protection Division if they are subjected to other scams. These scams can include robocalls, phishing attempts, fraudulent products and sham work-from-home opportunities.
If you have questions for the Consumer Protection Division, you may call 1-800-382-5516.