Hand sanitizer for $80: New York promises action against stores price-gouging amid COVID-19 outbreak

Posted at 7:17 AM, Mar 11, 2020

NEW YORK — State Attorney General Letitia James says she will take action against some New York City shops that are allegedly price-gouging hand sanitizer and other disinfectant products amid the coronavirus outbreak.

"On my watch, we will not tolerate schemes or frauds designed to turn large profits by exploiting people's health concerns," James said. "While there remains no cause for widespread panic, some people are looking to prey on others' anxiety and line their own pockets."

At least one hardware store in Midtown Manhattan was found to be charging $799.99 for hand sanitizer earlier this week amid shortages of the product.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced earlier this week that the state would begin producing its own hand sanitizer in the hopes of reducing the shortage.

Reporters with Scripps station WPIX in New York also found Purell sanitizing wipes on sale for $16.99 at a Manhattan store.

They also found a pharmacy in Brooklyn was selling individual masks for $3 each. The masks came from a box of 50, sold by the wholesaler for $50 total. At $3 each, the store would have made $150 for the box.

The penalty for violating the price-gouging laws in New York City is a violation and a fine of up to $500.

Anyone who suspects price gouging should call the NYS Attorney General at 800-697-1220.

This story was originally published by Arnold Diaz on WPIX in New York.