Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro stopped two medical supply companies from price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has already infected more than 4.9 million people and killed 160,000 across the United States as of August 7.
According to Attorney General Shapiro, American Surgical Supply and Keystone Medical Equipment have agreed to settle allegations that both companies were taking advantage of the pandemic to rip off consumers.
American Surgical Supply and Keystone Medical Equipment caught the attention of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office following tips that both companies are selling N95 face masks for an unreasonably high price.
An investigation found that American Surgical Supply sold 485 face masks for as much as $26 each while Keystone Medical Equipment sold 122 face masks for up to $28 per piece. The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office determined that both medical supply companies violated the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law and the Pennsylvania Price Gouging Act.
Under the Price Gouging Act, a price increase of more than 20% during a declared state of emergency is considered price gouging.
Terms of the settlement
American Surgical Supply and Keystone Medical Equipment entered into an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office to settle the matter.
Under the terms of the settlement, American Surgical Supply and Keystone Medical Equipment agreed to not engage in deceptive or fraudulent business practices and price gouging.
Both companies agreed to fully comply with all provisions of the Consumer Protection Law and the Price Gouging Act.
American Surgical Supply agreed to pay Pennsylvania $127 for public protection and education purposes and $5,640.55 allocated as restitution, which will be distributed to affected consumers.
Keystone Medical Equipment agreed to pay Pennsylvania $32.10 for public protection and education purposes and $1,193.16 allocated as restitution, which will be distributed to affected consumers.
In a statement, Shapiro said, “Consumers have the right to pay a fair price for goods, especially those as essential masks during this pandemic. Ripping people off to make a buck during this pandemic isn’t only unacceptable –- it’s illegal. Wherever price gouging happens, we will act to stop it and get people their money back.”
In June, Attorney General Shapiro stopped Goods and More Incorporated, a third-party online seller on Amazon, from price gouging.
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