‘Its illegal and unfair’: Experts warn about price gouging in Louisiana

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) Experts are warning consumers to be on the lookout for price gouging during the coronavirus pandemic.

News 10 has received reports from consumers stating that they are finding the cost of high-demand items, such as hand sanitizers, tissues, face masks and other products skyrocketing. 

Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said, “Scammers or unethical businesses can take advantage of us as consumers. When some of those commodities are harder to come by, some businesses have the opportunity to raise the price, and during the time of an emergency, it’s considered price gouging, and it is illegal to do.”

Price gouging is a term referring to when a seller spikes the prices of goods, services or commodities to a level much higher than is considered reasonable or fair and is considered exploitative, potentially to an unethical extent. ​​

“In a lot of those situations where those businesses are doing that, they’re probably seeing how far they can push the line, how far can I raise my prices, how far can I take advantage of the consumer,” explained Babin. “

Not every business out there is doing that, of course, there’s some great businesses, but those that aren’t doing the right thing and taking advantage of the situation are raising their prices to an unreasonable level.

“​​Anyone who suspects price gouging during a declared state of emergency should report it to the Better Business Bureau or the State Attorney General’s Office.​​Babin said.

“Collect as much documentation as you can of that. Whether it’s a receipt, a contract, an invoice. Take pictures of that item on display if it’s in a retail store. Share the time and location and date. Have all that information collected, that way when you file the complaint, there can be some action taken.”

The Better Business Bureau warns businesses to avoid the temptation to raise prices during a situation such as this pandemic because it is illegal to do so in Louisiana.

The Louisiana BBB’s, in conjunction with the LA Attorney General’s Office have created a Facebook group as a tool and resource for Louisiana residents to post or share suspected price gouging that they witness out in their community.

The Facebook group is called, “Price Gouging in Louisiana.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/551788105431080/

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