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Governor signs order to prohibit price gouging on at-home COVID tests

Sellers banned from increasing prices by more than 10%

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that prohibits sellers from increasing prices on COVID-19 at-home test kits by more than 10% on Jan. 8, 2022. Courtesy Getty Images.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order this weekend aimed at preventing price gouging on COVID-19 at-home test kits, which are in high demand due to the omicron variant surge.

The order generally prohibits sellers from increasing prices on the test kits by more than 10%.

State Attorney General Rob Bonta issued a consumer alert following the governor's signing of the order and encouraged anyone who has been a victim of price-gouging on at-home COVID-19 test kits to file a complaint with his office or contact local law enforcement.

"Californians are doing their part to confront this challenge — whether by caring for loved ones, getting vaccinated, or working on the front lines — and they shouldn't have to worry about being cheated while dealing with the effects of coronavirus," Bonta said.

The order signed by Newsom prohibits sale of at-home COVID-19 test kits at a price that exceeds, by more than 10%, the price the seller charged for the item on Dec. 1, 2021.

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Sellers who haven't previously sold at-home COVID-19 test kits may not sell them for 50% more than what the seller paid for them.

Violation of the order is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment for up to six months, or both. Violations would also constitute a violation of the Unfair Competition Law, which is subject to a $2,500 per violation civil penalty.

Price-gouging complaints can be filed at oag.ca.gov/report.

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Governor signs order to prohibit price gouging on at-home COVID tests

Sellers banned from increasing prices by more than 10%

by Bay City News Service /

Uploaded: Mon, Jan 10, 2022, 1:57 pm

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order this weekend aimed at preventing price gouging on COVID-19 at-home test kits, which are in high demand due to the omicron variant surge.

The order generally prohibits sellers from increasing prices on the test kits by more than 10%.

State Attorney General Rob Bonta issued a consumer alert following the governor's signing of the order and encouraged anyone who has been a victim of price-gouging on at-home COVID-19 test kits to file a complaint with his office or contact local law enforcement.

"Californians are doing their part to confront this challenge — whether by caring for loved ones, getting vaccinated, or working on the front lines — and they shouldn't have to worry about being cheated while dealing with the effects of coronavirus," Bonta said.

The order signed by Newsom prohibits sale of at-home COVID-19 test kits at a price that exceeds, by more than 10%, the price the seller charged for the item on Dec. 1, 2021.

Sellers who haven't previously sold at-home COVID-19 test kits may not sell them for 50% more than what the seller paid for them.

Violation of the order is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment for up to six months, or both. Violations would also constitute a violation of the Unfair Competition Law, which is subject to a $2,500 per violation civil penalty.

Price-gouging complaints can be filed at oag.ca.gov/report.

Comments

Joseph E. Davis
Registered user
Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Jan 11, 2022 at 1:44 pm
Joseph E. Davis, Woodside: Emerald Hills
Registered user
on Jan 11, 2022 at 1:44 pm

This is completely counter-productive as anyone who studies economics will tell you. The correct response to shortages is to raise prices and induce more supply, not limit prices which results in the empty shelves we are seeing.

An empty shelf almost always means that prices are too low.


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