AG dispatching special agents to stop price gouging

    Dana Nessel
    Attorney General Dana Nessel | Andrew Roth

    Special agents will now be helping Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel crack down on price gouging amid the outbreak of COVID-19, a disease caused by a new coronavirus.

    If you want to file a price gouging complaint, click here or call 877-765-8388. 

    According to a news release from Nessel’s office, highly trained criminal investigators will now be visiting stores to evaluate details of consumer complaints, assist with online research to compare pricing, and receive phone calls or letters from consumers.

    The release also states that Nessel’s office has received a total of 1,417 price gouging complaints as of Monday.

    The attorney general’s office also is recognizing the help of consumers in policing the market by shaming gougers on social media and sharing their experiences and receipts with the office. Investigators have noticed a positive shift in the market, partly because of these efforts, the AG said.

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order earlier this month to impose restrictions on price gouging in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Michigan.

    Price gouging could cost you $500 during coronavirus outbreak, AG cracking down on large gatherings

    As previously reported by the Advance, restrictions on price gouging went into effect on March 16 and will remain in effect until April 13. All violations of price gouging are misdemeanors and punishable by fines of up to $500. 

    Melanie Duquesnel, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau Eastern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, said it seemed to primarily be local shop owners who are price gouging during the panic around coronavirus.

    “Fear is a powerful motivator,” Nessel said. “But working together, we can stabilize both the prices and the levels of supplies on our grocery store shelves.”

    Madeline Ciak
    Madeline Ciak is a former Michigan Advance reporter. She’s a University of Michigan-Flint graduate and previously worked as a digital media manager at NBC25/FOX66 in Flint and a weekend producer at ABC12.