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8 DC stores issued cease and desist orders for doubling, tripling prices

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said he has received 50 complaints of price gouging across the District since March 11.

WASHINGTON — Sadly, in times of crisis, someone is always trying to make a buck. D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine has issued eight cease and desist orders on local convenient and beauty supply stores for doubling, or nearly tripling, their prices on in-demand items such as hand sanitizer, soap, wipes and gloves during the pandemic.  

"Many of them, of course, are located in wards that are under-served and have more economic challenges," Racine said.

Price gouging became illegal in the District as soon as Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a Public Health Emergency on March 11, 2020, that, among other things, limits price gouging and stockpiling. 

According to Racine's office, one of the more egregious cases included a foam hand sanitizer, usually priced at $13.49, marked at $55.51. 

"Unfortunately, part of the human condition is that there are scammers, there are fraudsters there are wrongdoers, and it's our job to protect ourselves," Racine said.

The Attorney General's office is counting on the public to report these situations. Investigators with the OAG will go to the store in question and issue the cease and desist order if the violations are found. Customers can call their consumer protection line at 202-442-9828 or email them at consumer.protection@dc.gov. 

According to Racine, the eight stores that have been served have cleaned up their act. Failure to do so could lead to a lawsuit and the business losing its license to operate.

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Learn more about how to protect yourself from scams and fraud on the AG's website.

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You can find more consumer protection information here.

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