DC Attorney General sends cease and desist letters to stores accused of gouging

D.C.’s top prosecutor sent letters to multiple shops in the are accused of raising prices on cleaning and disinfecting products that have become scarce during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Attorney General Karl Racine, five unidentified convenience stores, a beauty supply store, and an online retailer were the targets of “credible allegations of price gouging.”


Investigators determined that the stores had inflated their prices on cleaning and disinfecting products, while an Amazon online seller had “exorbitantly raised prices on hand sanitizing products.”

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Racine noted that penalty for price gouging in D.C. is $5,000 per violation, and that the District has law in place forbidding predatory price hikes during a state of emergency.

Investigators found:

Northwest D.C. convenience stores: One store increased prices on 72-count packs of generic brand disinfecting wipes to $8.99 and 100-count packs of latex gloves to $15.99. Another store raised the price of 16-ounce bottles of rubbing alcohol to $9.99.

Southeast D.C. convenience store: The store doubled the costs for bottled water and marked up the price for Lysol to $19.99.

Southeast D.C. beauty supply store: The store raised the price for eight-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer to $15.00, and sold both individual face masks and pairs of latex gloves for $1.99 each—even though a 100-count pack of latex gloves typically sells for under $5.00. 

Online Amazon Seller: The seller on Amazon raised prices far above the acceptable limit on a number of products. That includes: nearly doubling the cost of dispensing stands for sanitizing wipes, nearly tripling prices on bulk packs of hand sanitizer, and more than quadrupling the cost of touch-free foam hand sanitizer dispensers.

READ MORE: 34 Attorneys General send letter to online retailers urging them to stop price gouging

Coronavirus: DOJ issues warning over price gouging