New HampshireDepartment of JusticeOffice of the Attorney General

News Release

For Immediate Release
March 25, 2020

Contact:
Kate Spiner, Director of Communications
603-573-6103 | kate.spiner@doj.nh.gov

New Hampshire Joins 32 States in Urging Online Martketplaces to Prevent Price Gouging

Concord, NH – Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald announces that New Hampshire along with 32 Attorneys General, has signed on to a letter urging Amazon, Facebook, Ebay, Walmart, and Craigslist to more rigorously monitor price gouging practices by online sellers using their services, most recently as a result of the COVID-19 public heath crisis.

The letter calls on companies to do more to prevent price gouging on products that are essential to public health, like hand sanitizer or cleaning supplies, as COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread across the country and after the pandemic has subsided.

Specifically, the letter request that companies take the following steps to crack down on price gouging:

  • Set policies and enforce restrictions on unconscionable price gouging during emergencies: Online retail platforms should prevent unconscionable price increases from occurring by creating and enforcing strong policies that prevent sellers from deviating in any significant way from the product's price before an emergency. Such policies should examine historical seller prices, and the price offered by other sellers of the same or similar products, to identify and eliminate price gouging.
  • Trigger price gouging protections prior to an emergency declaration, such as when your systems detect conditions like pending weather events or future possible health risks.
  • Implement a complaint portal for consumers to report potential price gouging.

In addition, New Hampshire consumers are encouraged to exercise added vigilance when making purchases and interacting with online sellers as the COVID-19 may provide opportunities for individuals to engage in unlawful activities. New Hampshire does not have a specific anti-price gouging statute; however, state law does prohibit unfair and deceptive conduct and the Attorney General's Office vigorously enforces New Hampshire consumer protection laws.

To report unfair or deceptive conduct by a business, contact the Consumer Protection Hotline:

Attached: Letter to Amazon Portable Document Format Symbol

Portable Document Format Symbol Portable Document Format (.pdf). Visit nh.gov for a list of free .pdf readers for a variety of operating systems.

New Hampshire Department of Justice
33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301
Telephone: 603-271-3658