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Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul
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March 17, 2020

ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL WILL TAKE ACTION TO STOP PRICE GOUGING ON ITEMS RELATED TO THE CORONAVIRUS

Raoul Urges People to Report Price Gouging by Visiting Attorney General’s Website

Chicago — Attorney General Kwame Raoul today warned businesses to maintain fair prices on goods and announced that the Attorney General’s office will take action to stop unfair pricing on items that are crucial to stopping the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Raoul’s office has received more than 100 complaints over the last few days from individuals about what they believe is price gouging on items tied to the epidemic, such as hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, face masks and disinfectant sprays. Attorney General Raoul is directing businesses to maintain fair pricing, particularly on items public health agencies are recommending people use to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The Attorney General’s office is collaborating with state’s attorneys throughout Illinois to combat price gouging within communities. In addition, Gov. Pritzker issued an executive order Monday that prohibits price gouging and give the Attorney General enforcement authority. Raoul’s office is currently prioritizing enforcement action for price gouging on essential medical supplies, such as protective gear, and other items identified in the governor’s executive order.

“Now more than ever, it is crucial to put people before profits, and I will not hesitate to use my office’s authority to take decisive action against those that deliberately raise the prices of items that are crucial to stopping the spread of the coronavirus. I am committed to collaborating with partners in law enforcement and retail to ensure that businesses do not seize upon this crisis to make money,” Raoul said. “Price gouging will not be tolerated, and I will use all tools at my office’s disposal to hold accountable anyone whose pricing prevents Illinois residents from purchasing necessities that can save the lives of our most vulnerable residents by stopping the spread of the coronavirus.”

The Attorney General’s office is responsible for enforcing the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, which provides consumer protections against fraudulent and deceptive business practices. Raoul’s office has contacted state’s attorneys and law enforcement agencies, as well as the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, to ensure that businesses do not inhibit efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus by exorbitantly raising prices on items people need in order to avoid contracting COVID-19.

In addition to encouraging individuals to file complaints related to unfair pricing, Raoul’s office is monitoring products on websites including Amazon, eBay and Facebook, and contacting companies regarding ads or offers that may be problematic. The Attorney General’s office will continue to investigate and attempt to mediate allegations of unfair pricing.

Raoul’s office is also encouraging people to limit purchases to only items they need and to avoid “hoarding” items that are in high demand as more residents make plans to remain at home to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Gov. JB Pritzker, along with the Illinois Department of Public Health, is providing regular updates on COVID-19 in Illinois.

The WHO encourages people to protect themselves by taking the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly using soap and water.
  • Maintain social distancing, which includes staying at least 3 feet away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Practice respiratory hygiene by covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Seek medical care early if you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing by calling your health care provider in advance and staying home if you feel ill.
  • Stay informed, and follow advice given by your health care provider, as well as national and state public health authorities.

Raoul encourages people to report unfair pricing and other unfair business practices connected to the COVID-19 outbreak by visiting the Attorney General’s website.

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