Coronavirus PA: 50 price gouging complaints in Pennsylvania, AG says

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Authorities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are ramping up price-gouging enforcement in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Action News followed along with Camden County Weights and Measures as they patrolled store aisles, checking for price gouging.

Our cameras were rolling as enforcement officers stopped by a CVS, ShopRite and 7-11 in Blackwood, New Jersey.

Rachel Honrychs with the Camden County Health Department said officers are looking for gouging of particular items, "all your quality essential items your milk, eggs, bread, disinfectants, things like that."

Camden County Weights and Measures tells Action News those who they find price gouging can face penalties.

"The fine goes from $10,000 -20,000," said Julian Pagano with Camden County Weights and Measures.

Attorney generals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania say they have received reports of price gouging.

During a state of emergency, price gouging is considered a price increase in excess of 10%.

"Most of the complaints we've received have to do with cleaning products, hand sanitizers bleach wipes, things like that. And it comes from a range of merchants both online and bricks and mortar big box, as well as," said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Shapiro also said since his office set up a specialized email pricegouging@attorneygeneral.gov his office has received 50 complaints of suspected price gouging.

"We have contacted the number of merchants complaints have come from. We are preparing subpoenas and cease and desist orders which will go out later today or first thing in the morning," he added.

Camden County Weights and Measures did not find any gouging during our ride along but the NJ Attorney General's Office has received 90 complaints of suspected price gouging.

Action News also checked some stores in West Philadelphia. But, we found supplies like hand sanitizer and disinfectants scarce making it difficult to up-charge with no product.

If you believe a company or business is price gouging in New Jersey you can contact the New Jersey Attorney General's office at 1-800-242-5846.
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