Minnesota Begins Crackdown on ‘Pandemic Profiteering’
To date, the Attorney General's Office has received more than 300 price-gouging complaints on goods and services deemed essential.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is starting his crackdown against what he calls ‘pandemic profiteering’.
The Attorney General’s Office began its enforcement efforts immediately after the Governor signed an executive order banning price-gouging on essential goods and services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To date, the Attorney General’s Office has received more than 300 price-gouging complaints on goods and services deemed essential.
These complaints most commonly relate to toilet paper and other paper products, cleaning and sanitation products, and essential food products.
In just the past four days, the attorney general’s enforcement staff has made more than 70 visits to Minnesota retail stores to survey prices and investigate complaints of price gouging.
One company, Downtown Smoke Shop, has come to an agreement with the attorney general’s office to stop selling essential products.
A secret shopper investigation at one of their locations found they were selling one roll of toilet paper for $2.99, two rolls for $4.99, and a pack of 36 rolls for $79.99.
The company did not carry these products before the pandemic.
The office also sent out a warning letter to major retailer Menard’s saying that the attorney general would be investigating multiple complaints against the company.
One complaint accuses Menards of increasing the price of surface cleaner by 55%, from $2.74 to $4.99 during the height of the pandemic.
The office also received numerous complaints about other cleaning supply price mark ups.
We reached out to Menards and are awaiting their response.
“I will do everything in my power to help ensure Minnesotans can afford their lives and are protected from pandemic profiteering by people who are trying to line their pockets during this crisis at Minnesotans’ expense,” said Attorney General Keith Ellison
The Attorney General is urging anybody who sees price-gouging during the pandemic to report it directly to their office.
You can find their dedicated page here.