Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro says a Pottsville area business was gouging customers on the price of N95 face masks.
The N95 face mask became a hot commodity during the coronavirus pandemic. And American Surgical Supply, just outside Pottsville, was allegedly charging customers as much as $26 per mask. Shapiro says American Surgical Supply sold 485 masks to customers at overly-inflated prices.
“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,” Shapiro says. “Wherever price gouging happens, we will act to stop it and get people their money back.”
Pennsylvania Shuts Down N95 Mask Price Gouging at Pottsville Area Business
On Monday, Shapiro’s office announced that American Surgical Supply, located by the Fairlane Village Mall along Route 61 South, has entered into an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance. That business, along with Keystone Medical Equipment, of Jim Thorpe, were slapped for allegedly gouging prices on the coveted N95 masks.
The N95 mask is allegedly the only solid defense against contracting the coronavirus. Consumers, during the early part of the pandemic, were discouraged from purchasing these masks so enough existed for medical professionals.
Price gouging is defined as charging 20% more than the regular retail price for a product during a state of emergency. We found KN95 masks selling on Amazon for about $3-4 apiece. N95 masks at Home Depot (currently out-of-stock) sell for as much as $5 each.
We aren’t sure what N95 masks American Surgical Supply was selling but $26 is considerably higher than prices right now on products that are available.
Restitution Owed to Customers
As part of the penalty against American Surgical Supply, the company must pay back customers for the amount they overcharged.
Shapiro urged any customer who believes they were overcharged by either of these businesses to fill out a complaint form to start the restitution process. You can find that online form here. Eligible consumers had to have purchased these N95 masks at American Surgical Supply or Keystone Medical Equipment between March 6 and July 28. Consumers need to show a receipt with the gouged price on it. The deadline to submit a complaint is Sept. 23.
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