Washington AG warns against virus-related price gouging

Washington’s attorney general is warning Amazon sellers who hike prices on virus-related products like hand sanitizer and face masks that he could sue them.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson ’s office said Tuesday it sent letters to five Washington-based independent sellers who raised prices.

“Price-gouging during an emergency is morally wrong, and a violation of the Consumer Protection Act,” Ferguson said in a statement. “These businesses are charging exorbitant prices on products that are essential for the health and well-being of Washingtonians. We will use all of the tools at our disposal to prevent price-gouging during this public health emergency.”

Ferguson said one seller based in Spokane raised the price of an 8-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer from just over $3.50 in January to an average price of more than $25 — a more than 600 percent increase. Some buyers may have paid as much as $40 for the product.