Since receiving an influx of reports of price gouging over the weekend, investigators with the Division of Consumer Protection are aggressively pursuing reports of price gouging in the State of Utah.
“We applaud the outstanding work of our retailers at this difficult time,” said Governor Gary Herbert. “They are working overtime to keep Utahns supplied, and we thank them for great efforts under pressure. There are also reports of bad actors out there that are trying to price gouge. That is not the Utah way, and we will respond appropriately to those reports.”
Under the Price Controls During Emergencies Act (Title 13, Chapter 41), businesses and individuals are prohibited from selling items available at retail for excessive prices.
“Price gouging is not clever or entrepreneurial: it is illegal,” said Chris Parker, Interim Executive Director of the Department of Commerce. “We are contacting sellers about reports of price gouging; when we find gouging, we will take appropriate action to stop it.”
Division investigators are actively contacting those alleged to be engaged in price gouging. Below are examples of reports and the Division’s initial response:
3. Some instances of apparent price gouging appear to be ill-advised attempts at a joke:
The Division visited an individual that was allegedly selling toilet paper and other items for excessive prices. The individual initially posted on social media that toilet paper was available for sale for between $100 and $200 per case. Upon investigation, it appears that the post was intended to be in jest. Social media users added fake photos to the post thread and soon other individuals on the platform began to believe the fake photos were a real effort to price gouge consumers. Unfortunately, the individual began receiving death threats and other harassment as a result of the initial post made as a joke.