PA Attorney General stops price gouging at two medical supply companies

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Pharmacist hand holding N95 mask in pharmacy drugstore

HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Monday that his office shut down what they say were price gouging efforts at two medical supply companies in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General says they stepped in to shut down price gouging efforts at Keystone Medical Equipment in Jim Thorpe, and American Surgical Supply in Pottsville. Both are local businesses selling medical supplies like orthopedic braces, PPE, and CPAP machines to consumers.

According to a press release from the office, Keystone sold 122 face masks for upwards of $28 per mask and American Surgical sold 485 face masks for as much as $26 per mask. They learned about the issue through tips and entered into an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) with the companies to prevent any future practice of price gouging.

“Consumers have the right to pay a fair price for goods, especially those as essential as masks during this pandemic. Ripping people off to make a buck during this pandemic isn’t only unacceptable – it’s illegal,” Attorney General Shapiro said in a statement. “Wherever price gouging happens, we will act to stop it and get people their money back.”

The AVC requires the companies to pay restitution to all consumers who purchased the N95 face masks at excessive prices and to fully comply with all provisions of the Pennsylvania Consumer Protection Law and Price Gouging Act moving forward.

To be considered for restitution, consumers should file a consumer complaint form and attach a copy of their receipt showing they purchased the N95 face masks between March 6, 2020 and July 28, 2020. Complaints must be submitted by September 23, 2020 to be considered.

Under the Price Gouging Act, a price increase of more than 20 percent during a declared state of emergency is considered price gouging. Consumers who suspect illegal price increases should email the Office of Attorney General at pricegouging@attorneygeneral.gov and fill out a complaint form.

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