Washington, D.C. – As consumers across Nevada continue to report excessive prices from some sellers during the coronavirus outbreak, U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) joined Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) to introduce a bill that would prohibit price gouging. The Disaster and Emergency Pricing Abuse Prevention Act would prohibit selling or offering for sale essential goods and services at excessive prices during or in anticipation of a natural disaster, pandemic, or state of emergency.
“At a time of crisis when all Americans must pull together, we can’t let a small number of unscrupulous businesses take advantage of people in need. This bill will ensure that Nevadans can get key goods and services at fair prices during emergencies. I’ll continue working in the Senate to protect consumers and businesses alike during this critical period,” said Senator Cortez Masto.
“During a time of crisis such as this, it is critical that Nevadans have access to the goods they need for their health and safety at a reasonable price,” said Senator Rosen. “Reports that individuals and businesses have engaged in price gouging on important supplies such as disinfectants, hand sanitizers, and face masks are deeply disturbing. Our legislation would prohibit the sale of these goods at excessive prices, allowing consumers to better protect themselves and their families. We will continue working to protect the health and wellbeing of Nevadans.”
The Disaster and Emergency Pricing Abuse Prevention Act would:
- Prohibit selling or offering for sale essential goods and services at an unconscionably excessive price during or in anticipation of a natural disaster, pandemic or state of emergency.
- Presume prices are unconscionable if the crisis price exceeds the pre-crisis price by more than 20%, unless the price increase is a product of an increase in the seller’s costs.
- Apply to goods and services that may be used to preserve, protect, or sustain the health, safety, or welfare of members of the public from potential harms resulting from a natural disaster, a pandemic, or the circumstances giving rise to a state of emergency.
- Provide for potential civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation, as well as injunctions.
- Does not preempt state price gouging laws.