Washington, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce Chair Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law Chairman David N. Cicilline (D-RI), and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) introduced the COVID-19 Price Gouging Prevention Act to protect American consumers from price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill would prohibit the sale of consumer goods and services at an unconscionably excessive price during the public health emergency declared as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s outrageous that some companies and individuals are taking advantage of American consumers by price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic. Goods and services such as hand sanitizer, personal protective equipment and other medical supplies, and many other items would be covered by this bill because every American deserves access to these essential goods at a reasonable price,” Nadler,Schakowsky, Cicilline, and Pallone said. “This bill will help put an end to price gouging during this national emergency by giving the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general the enforcement tools to go after price gougers. We look forward to working with Speaker Pelosi to ensure the House passes this bill as soon as possible.”
The term “good or service,” is defined in this bill to mean a good or service offered in commerce, and includes, but is not limited to, food, water, personal protective equipment, respirators, medical supplies, cleaning supplies, sanitizers, healthcare services, delivery services or cleaning services.
The bill provides the following factors for consideration in determining whether price gouging has occurred:
Whether the price grossly exceeds the average price that the same good or service was sold for the 90-days before January 31, 2020, or during the same 90-day period of the previous year;
Whether the price grossly exceeds the average price of the same good or service sold by other similarly situated sellers during the same period; and
Whether the price reasonably reflects additional costs to the seller or the profitability of forgone sales.
A section by section summary of the bill is available HERE.