Better Business Bureau of Central California is receiving reports or price gouging on high-demand items, such as hand sanitizers and tissues
FRESNO – The Better Business Bureau’s vision is an ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers can trust each other and businesses who engage in price gouging undermine those efforts. Price gouging is a term referring to when a seller spikes the price of goods, services or commodities to a level much higher than is considered reasonable or fair and is considered exploitative, potentially to an unethical extent.
As government officials, news outlets and health officials are keeping the public appraised of the COVID-19 situation, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is receiving reports from consumers about skyrocketing costs for high-demand items, such as hand sanitizers, tissues, face masks and other products. For this reason, BBB for Central California has developed a price gouging online form available at BBB.org. It’s on this page that consumers can fill out and submit reports to BBB detailing their experience with a business, and how they became a victim of price gouging.
Anyone who suspects price gouging during a declared state of emergency should report it to Better Business Bureau by going to BBB.org/CCIE and select the Report Price Gouging button. Consumers have the option to opt in/out of speaking with the media about their price gouging experience as well. When reporting a price gouging complaint, gather as much information as safely possible and follow these three tips:
- Be as specific about the transaction as possible, including the name and address of the business, names of any employees involved, and information detailing the spike in pricing.
- Gather together documentation supporting the price gouging (receipts, photos of products and their advertising pricing, invoices, etc.)
- Compare pricing of similar products with other sellers in the areas as well as online. It’s important to note similarities and differences between brands, size/quantity, manufacturers, model numbers, and prices.
BBB warns businesses to avoid the temptation to raise prices during a situation such as a pandemic because it is illegal to do so in the State of California and because it erodes marketplace trust. Consumers will remember which businesses took advantage of them during this time after all is said and done.
For more information, contact Better Business Bureau at (559) 222-8111 or bbb.org/ccie.
Consumers can also sign up for our free BBB eNewsletter by visiting bbb.org and clicking on the “Programs & Services” tab. BBB Serving Central California & Inland Empire Counties was founded in 1950 and serves Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, Tulare, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.