Gov. Polis signs price gouging bill into law; will help protect Coloradans during COVID-19

Coronavirus

Scott Mitchell fills a box with toilet paper at the Tissue Plus factory, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in Bangor, Maine. The new company has been unexpectedly busy because of the shortage of toilet paper brought on by hoarders concerned about the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

DENVER (KDVR) — Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill this week giving the attorney general greater ability to protect Coloradans from price gouging.

The law (HB20-1414) will make it illegal for entities to sell food, fuel, medical supplies or other necessities for an excessive price during a declared emergency.

According to a release sent out by the Colorado Public Interest Research Group, price gouging has been a persistent problem since COVID-19 arrived in the United States. An analysis in March from CoPIRG Foundation’s national affiliate, U.S. PIRG Education Fund, found that existing monitoring on Amazon’s platform was not preventing significant price hikes. Later that month, the attorney general’s office reported that 37 percent of the coronavirus-related complaints they had received were around pricing. 

Danny Katz, CoPIRG director, issued the following statement praising the bill:

“By signing these protections into law, Gov. Polis is giving Coloradans one less thing to worry about during this pandemic: that we won’t be ripped off on critical supplies we need to keep ourselves and our communities healthy. Now, the state will be much better able to protect consumers from unscrupulous sellers attempting to make a quick buck during an emergency.

“We want to thank Reps. Weissman and Titone, as well as Sens. Foote and Petterson, for their leadership and ensuring the attorney general has the tools he needs to stop price gouging.”

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