Dec. 21, 2021 By Christian Murray
New York Attorney General Letitia James is calling on the public to watch out for price gouging when it comes to buying COVID-19 at-home test kits.
James said that her office has received complaints of COVID-19 testing products being sold at double or triple their retail price.
A standard BinaxNOW brand test kit at a New York store, like Walgreens, costs between $14 and $25 for a package of two tests, she said. However, her office has received reports of the same products being unlawfully sold for more than $40 and up to $70 per package.
“As New York sees an exponential rise in COVID-19 cases, more and more New Yorkers are looking for at-home tests and other tools in the fight against the coronavirus,” James said. “If New Yorkers see exorbitant price increases on testing kits or other goods vital and necessary for health, safety, and welfare, they are encouraged to report it to my office immediately.”
New York law prohibits merchants from taking unfair advantage of consumers by selling goods or services that are vital to their health, safety, or welfare for an “unconscionably excessive” price. An excessive price would be represented by a gross disparity between the price of the product immediately prior to and after such an occurrence.
Last year, a law was passed that substantially strengthened the state’s ability to bring charges against individuals and entities violating the price gouging statute. The law expanded protections against price gouging beyond consumer goods to include products or services that are vital or necessary to the health, safety, and welfare of consumers
Residents who believe that they have been the victim of price gouging are encouraged to file a complaint online or call 800-771-7755.