Mar 24 2020

Tillis’ Bill Will Fine And Punish Individuals and Businesses That Price Gouge Medical Masks, Hand Sanitizer and Other Essential Medical Supplies And Services 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced the Ending Price-Gouging During Emergencies Act, legislation that punishes individuals and businesses that price gouge essential medical supplies and other goods and services during a state of national emergency in response to pandemics and natural disasters.

Under Tillis’ legislation, when a President declares an emergency under the Stafford Act, like President Trump has declared to combat coronavirus, FEMA will be authorized to identify lists of goods and services deemed necessary and expedient for disaster response and recovery. 

An individual or business would be subject to significant fines and penalties if they attempt to price gouge an item or service on FEMA’s lists by charging a price that “grossly exceeds” the item’s previous price before the emergency declaration or at a price that “grossly exceeds” the average price of the same or similar product or service offered by other retailers. 

Tillis’ legislation further directs the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Attorney General to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of price gougers based on the percent price increase from the average price of the good two weeks prior to Stafford Act declaration. This will allow our federal justice system to swiftly target those who are attempting to price-gouge for the highest personal profits and bring them to justice.

“I’ve heard from North Carolina families and medical professionals about shady individuals and businesses who are trying to exploit the coronavirus pandemic to personally profit and rip-off North Carolinians. Price gougers are even using the current shortage of masks and medical supplies to rip off our health care providers, offering these vital goods at exorbitant, marked-up prices,” said Senator Thom Tillis. “Enough is enough. Low-life price gougers who try to rip-off their fellow Americans and our medical professionals need to be criminally prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. My bill will make them think twice before they try to price gouge Americans during an emergency, and if they still try to price gouge, my bill will hold them accountable.”

Read a summary of the bill by clicking HERE.