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Pallone Joins Schakowsky, Cicilline & Nadler in Introducing Bill to Protect Americans from Price Gouging During COVID-19 Health Crisis

April 8, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), along with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01), and Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), 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 consumers by price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic.  I’m pleased that New Jersey has taken the lead against price gouging, but we must ensure that every American has access to essential goods, including hand sanitizer, personal protective equipment and other medical supplies during this public health crisis. These items will be covered by this bill because everyone deserves access to these critical goods at reasonable prices,” Congressman Pallone said.  “This bill will give the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general the enforcement tools to go after price gougers. I look forward to working with my colleagues 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.

The bill text is available HERE.